Timor Leste Foreign Minister Hernani Coelho calls on Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan

Timor Leste's Foreign Minister Hernani Coelho (left) met Dr Vivian Balakrishnan (right) on April 12, 2016.
Timor Leste's Foreign Minister Hernani Coelho (left) met Dr Vivian Balakrishnan (right) on April 12, 2016.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SINGAPORE - Timor Leste's Foreign Minister Hernani Coelho, who is in Singapore for his first official visit, called on his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on Tuesday (April 12).

Both ministers reaffirmed the warm and friendly relations between the two countries, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Tuesday night.

Mr Coelho, whose full title is Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, updated Dr Balakrishnan on developments in Timor Leste, as well as on the country's foreign policy priorities, the MFA said. They also exchanged views on regional developments.

Mr Coelho will call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (April 13).

He will also visit the Gardens by the Bay, and plant a "Banana Singapura" hybrid - known scientifically as the Musa x paradisiaca - at the Heritage Gardens. The plant was a gift from Timor Leste's Prime Minister Rui Araujo following a visit to Singapore last year.

Both countries have had fairly regular bilateral exchanges, and bilateral trade jumped by 353 per cent last year to $615 million.

Timor Leste now ranks as Singapore's 61st largest trading partner.

In August last year, former Timor Leste prime minister Xanana Gusmao led a 12-member delegation to attend a high-level study visit in Singapore on its public service policies and the Central Provident Fund.

And over two periods - from 1999 to 2003, and from 2008 to 2012 - the Singapore Armed Forces contributed over 1,000 military personnel to support the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Timor Leste.