Leaders of Singapore and Australia to meet for key dialogue

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne speaking at the Australian embassy in Bangkok on Jan 10, 2019.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne speaking at the Australian embassy in Bangkok on Jan 10, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Ministers from Singapore and Australia will meet in Sydney on Friday (March 29) to discuss cooperation between the two countries, including the progress of a strategic partnership signed in 2015 that upgraded ties.

Three ministers will meet their counterparts at the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee.

They are Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen and Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing who will meet their Australian counterparts: Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham.

On the agenda is the implementation of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed in 2015 to boost cooperation in defence, the economy, foreign affairs, and arts and culture between the countries, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement on Wednesday (March 27).

The ministers will also discuss regional and international developments at this year's meeting, said the MFA.

The meeting will be the 11th for both countries, which do not have meetings of a similar format with other countries.

It will keep up the momentum of the high-level exchanges between the two countries, the MFA said, following Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's official visit to Australia in March last year (2018), and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's visit to Singapore for the 33rd Asean Summit last year.

Australia was among the first countries to recognise Singapore's independence in 1965, and both countries have built a longstanding and multi-faceted relationship, with a regular exchange of high-level visits.

In 2016, Singapore and Australia announced deeper cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, innovation and science, and defence, under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Trade between them last year was $24.5 billion.