PM Lee meets Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull for first time at G-20 Leaders' Summit

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon (right) met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the G20 Summit in Turkey on Nov 15, 2015.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon (right) met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the G20 Summit in Turkey on Nov 15, 2015.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

ANTALYA (Turkey) - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his new Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull met for the first time on Sunday, over a breakfast meeting at the Group of 20 (G-20) Leaders' Summit.

Both leaders had a wide-ranging discussion on regional developments and domestic issues, Mr Lee's press secretary Chang Li Lin told reporters.

They also affirmed the positive and close ties between the two countries and reiterated their support for the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), she added.

The partnership accord was signed in June by Mr Lee and Mr Turnbull's predecessor Tony Abbott, who was on an official visit to Singapore that marked 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Mr Turnbull was sworn into office in September after he defeated Mr Abbott in a sudden party leadership vote.

"Both PMs were pleased that the CSP was off to a good start and work on reviewing the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement was underway," Ms Chang said, adding that the leaders also expressed keen interest to visit each other in the near future.

The CSP pledges new levels of cooperation in defence, the economy, foreign affairs, and arts and culture, and set out a road map on the course of ties between the two countries for the next 10 years.

It will also work towards letting Singaporeans enjoy even more seamless travel to Australia, and paves the way for increased intelligence sharing to combat terrorism, greater access to military training areas in Australia, and collaboration on fighting cybercrime.

The review of the free trade agreement is expected to be concluded by July next year.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and his Australian counterpart, Mr Mathias Cormann, were also present at the breakfast meeting.

waltsim@sph.com.sg