PM Lee, Foreign Minister Vivian send letters to Canadian counterparts to mark 50 years of diplomatic ties

SINGAPORE - Singapore's leaders marked 50 years of diplomatic ties between Singapore and Canada with messages of congratulations to their Canadian counterparts on Tuesday.

Canada was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Singapore, on Dec 15, 1965, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Since then, relations between Canada and Singapore have grown to encompass many areas, including trade, education and Arctic issues.

"Our two countries share a warm relationship underpinned by common interests and close cooperation across a broad spectrum of areas," wrote Mr Lee in a letter released to the media on Tuesday.

Ties between the people of both countries are substantive, with Singaporeans having studied in Canada and forged enduring relationships, he said.

The countries' leaders, including the late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau - father of the current Prime Minister - and the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, also developed close friendships.

PM Lee, who met Mr Trudeau last month at the Group of 20 summit in Turkey and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila, said he looked forward to working closely with him to further strengthen ties between their countries.

"Singapore welcomes and supports Canada's efforts to deepen its engagement with Asia," said Mr Lee, a point made as well by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in a separate letter released on Tuesday.

The letters come a week after the High Commission of Canada in Singapore commemorated the 50th anniversary of ties with a reception last Tuesday.

The strong turnout at such commemorative events here and in Canada "are testament to our deep and enduring friendship", Dr Balakrishnan wrote in his letter to his Canadian counterpart Stéphane Dion.

charyong@sph.com.sg