Heng Swee Keat to meet Japan's Abe, speak at Nikkei forum

Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat arrived in Tokyo yesterday for a three-day visit, during which he will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

He will also speak at Japanese media giant Nikkei's marquee annual forum, the International Conference on the Future of Asia, today.

The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement yesterday that Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, will meet his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, as well as other conference attendees and key business leaders.

This is Mr Heng's first visit to Japan since he became DPM on May 1. The trip comes on the back of a whirlwind eight-day, five-city tour of China that took him to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

In China, Mr Heng frequently spoke about the impact of the Sino-US trade war on regional and global economies, and urged the two feuding superpowers to find areas of cooperation amid competition.

He will likely discuss this topic in a speech and dialogue at the 25th Nikkei conference, of which The Straits Times is a media partner.

This year's theme is "Seeking a new global order - overcoming the chaos". It will discuss how Asian countries and companies should react to global uncertainties such as trade tensions, the struggle for high-tech military supremacy and the rise of protectionism.

 

Mr Heng, who will be accompanied by officials from the Finance and Foreign ministries on his visit, joined then Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the Nikkei conference last year.

Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew was a regular speaker at the Nikkei forum.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad are among the keynote speakers this year.

Other attendees include Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh.

Mr Heng leaves Tokyo tomorrow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2019, with the headline 'DPM Heng to meet Japan's Abe, speak at Nikkei forum'. Print Edition | Subscribe