The Straits Times
Published on Oct 06, 2012

PM visit to boost ties with NZ and Australia

He will also explore more cooperation in some areas


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong leaves for Auckland on Saturday, as he starts an eight-day visit to New Zealand and Australia.

The official visit to the two Pacific countries - his second since taking office in 2004 - is aimed at reaffirming ties and exploring further cooperation in areas such as trade, security, and science and technology. He will meet New Zealand Premier John Key on Monday and Australian PM Julia Gillard on Thursday.

The visit comes at a time of keen competition between America and China for pre-eminence on the western side of the Pacific, following United States President Barack Obama's "pivot" to Asia.

On this and other issues, Singapore tends to have a similar world view and converging interests with Australia and New Zealand.