New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to make official visit to Singapore on Friday

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will call on President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during her visit.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will call on President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during her visit.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will make an official visit to Singapore on Friday (May 17), at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

During her visit, the leaders will sign a joint declaration to deepen bilateral cooperation in four areas, and for which discussions were launched in 2017.

The Singapore-New Zealand Enhanced Partnership will see the countries step up collaboration in trade and economics; security and defence; science, technology and innovation; and people-to-people links.

The prime ministers will also witness the signing of the upgraded Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (ANZSCEP), said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement on Thursday.

The ANZSCEP, which came into force in 2001, was Singapore's first bilateral free trade agreement, and New Zealand's second such agreement.

In addition, four memoranda of understanding covering science, technology and innovation; cyber security; the arts; and business cooperation will be inked on Friday, said the MFA.

Ms Ardern will call on President Halimah Yacob and PM Lee during her visit.

The two prime ministers will also hold a joint press conference.

PM Lee and Ms Ardern met previously in November 2018 at the Asean Summit held in Singapore, and also at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April last year.

Ms Ardern will be accompanied by New Zealand's Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor, as well as senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Creative New Zealand.

Besides their strong economic ties, Singapore and New Zealand also cooperate closely on defence through platforms such as the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus and the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

The Singapore Armed Forces has been conducting artillery training at the Waiouru area in New Zealand since 1997.