PM Lee meets Abe, Argentine President and EU leaders

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday noted the successful celebration of 50 years of ties between their countries, as they met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) Leaders' Summit.

Singapore and Japan marked 50 years of diplomatic relations last year, and Mr Abe said at the meeting: "Japan is ready to further develop our cooperative relationship with Singapore, looking ahead to the next 50 years."

Thanking him, Mr Lee conveyed his sympathies on the floods in Kyushu in southern Japan, which were caused by heavy rain and have killed 15 people thus far.

During the meeting, both leaders spoke about further enhancing bilateral cooperation.

They discussed the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail project, and Mr Lee welcomed Japan's interest.

They also agreed to work closely to enhance Japan-Asean relations.

Separately, Mr Lee met Argentine President Mauricio Macri, in the first bilateral meeting between both leaders.

They welcomed the enhanced engagement between Singapore and Argentina, including the reopening of the Argentine Embassy in Singapore later this year.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade and investment facilitation, food security and education.

Both countries will also work closely at the regional and multilateral levels, said the PMO.

The leaders agreed there are opportunities for further cooperation, with Argentina assuming the G-20 presidency next year and Singapore chairing Asean.

They discussed potential synergies between Asean and Mercosur - a sub-regional bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Mr Macri had expressed interest in using Singapore as a hub to strengthen links between Latin America and Asia, when Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan called on him in April.

Yesterday, he accepted Mr Lee's invitation to make a state visit to Singapore next year.

Mr Lee yesterday also met European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

They discussed bilateral cooperation, including the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA).

Both sides supported an early ratification of the EUSFTA, "which will greatly benefit our businesses and further deepen our ties", the PMO added.

Royston Sim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 09, 2017, with the headline 'PM Lee meets Abe, Argentine President and EU leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe