President Tan on six-day state visit to Norway

Florist Nils Norman Ivrsen decorating a stage with orchids. The stage is being set up in front of the Royal Palace where King Harald V and Queen Sonja will welcome President Tan.
Florist Nils Norman Ivrsen decorating a stage with orchids. The stage is being set up in front of the Royal Palace where King Harald V and Queen Sonja will welcome President Tan.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

President Tony Tan Keng Yam arrives in the Norwegian capital of Oslo today, in the first state visit by a Singapore head of state to Norway. During his six-day visit, Dr Tan will meet King Harald V, Queen Sonja of Norway and Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

He will also spend three days in Tromso, Norway's Arctic capital.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the visit "reaffirms Singapore's warm and longstanding relations" with Norway.

Relations between both sides date back over a century. In 1906, a year after Norway became independent, it set up an honorary consulate in Singapore, which was an important harbour for Norwegian vessels. Formal ties were established in 1969, after Singapore's independence.

While in Norway, Dr Tan will receive a ceremonial welcome at the Royal Palace, the official residence of the King of Norway, where he will be hosted to lunch and a gala dinner by King Harald V and Queen Sonja. The royal couple had made a state visit to Singapore in 2004.

Dr Tan will also meet Ms Solberg, who was in Singapore in April on an official trip, and Mr Olemic Thommessen, president of the Storting, the Norwegian Parliament. Dr Tan will also attend a Singapore-Norway business forum and research and enterprise seminar, as well as a reception for overseas Singaporeans in Norway.

From Oslo, the President will go to the northern city of Tromso, where he will tour the University of Tromso and go on board the university's research vessel.

He will also visit the fishing village of Sommaroy, a key hub for the Norwegian fishing industry.

In a boost to the close cooperation between both countries, a number of agreements are expected to be inked during the visit. These will be in the areas of business, maritime cooperation, education and research.

Norway is Singapore's 13th largest foreign investor with investments reaching $21.9 billion. Among Singapore's European trading partners, it also ranks as the eighth largest, with $2.4 billion in bilateral trade last year.

Nearly 400 Norwegian companies are in Singapore, most of them in the maritime and offshore industries.

The Singapore Business Federation is leading a delegation of 13 companies to Norway in conjunction with the state visit.

Dr Tan will be accompanied by his wife, Mrs Mary Tan; Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli; Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and for Manpower Sam Tan; and MPs Cheryl Chan and Joan Pereira.

While he is away, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers J.Y. Pillay will be Acting President today and tomorrow. Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob will be Acting President from Oct 11 to 15.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 09, 2016, with the headline 'President Tan on six-day state visit to Norway'. Print Edition | Subscribe