PM Lee arrives in Mongolia for visit and Asem summit

PM Lee Hsien Loong waving to fellow Asian and European leaders at the opening ceremony of the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in Milan, Italy, on Oct 16, 2014.
PM Lee Hsien Loong waving to fellow Asian and European leaders at the opening ceremony of the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in Milan, Italy, on Oct 16, 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives in Mongolia today for an official visit and to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) Summit.

The four-day trip will start with the official visit, the first by a Singapore prime minister to Mongolia since diplomatic ties were established in 1970, said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) yesterday.

The visit comes just two weeks after the country's new government was elected in June.

 
 

While in the capital city Ulaanbaatar, Mr Lee will be hosted to a welcome lunch by Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat.

He will meet Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and Speaker of Parliament Miyeegombo Enkhbold as well.

Mr Lee will also attend a reception at which he will meet Singaporeans based in Mongolia, businessmen of both countries, and Mongolians who have attended Singapore's technical assistance programmes and universities.

Relations between both countries are cordial and Singapore has received several high-level visits from Mongolia over the years. The most recent was by Mr Elbegdorj, who made a state visit in 2013.

To date, the country has sent 1,200 officials to Singapore for training in English, economic development and security, among other things, under the Singapore Cooperation Programme.

 
 

Bilateral trade is modest, and stood at $64 million last year .

After the official visit, Mr Lee will attend the 11th Asem Summit in Ulaanbaatar from Friday to Saturday. The biennial summit will mark the 20th anniversary of the informal, inter-governmental dialogue which aims to strengthen links between Asia and Europe.

In all, 34 leaders from 14 Asian and 20 European countries are set to attend the summit. They will discuss various issues of mutual interest, how to strengthen Asia-Europe cooperation and chart Asem's future direction.

Mr Lee will also meet some of the leaders separately, said the PMO statement.

He is accompanied by Mrs Lee, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, and senior officials from the PMO and MFA.

While he is away, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be Acting Prime Minister on Wednesday and Sunday, and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be Acting Prime Minister from Thursday to Saturday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'PM Lee arrives in Mongolia for visit and Asem summit'. Print Edition | Subscribe