PM Lee on four-day visit to Vietnam

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is on a four-day official visit to Vietnam from today to Friday, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

The visit will reaffirm Singapore's longstanding ties with Vietnam.

Mr Lee will meet several Vietnamese leaders, and they will discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation, the statement added.

Relations between both countries were upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2013, opening up new avenues of cooperation in areas such as defence, education and finance. This strategic partnership agreement was concluded during Mr Lee's last official visit to Vietnam in September 2013.

Mr Lee will start his visit in Ho Chi Minh City, then go to Hanoi, where he will call on Communist Party of Vietnam general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang. He will also meet Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, as well as National Assembly president Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

Mr Lee will be given a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace and be hosted to an official dinner by Mr Phuc. He will also lay wreaths at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Monument of National Heroes and Martyrs.

On Friday, Da Nang City Party Committee secretary Nguyen Xuan Anh and Hanoi People's Committee chairman Nguyen Duc Chung will call on Mr Lee.

While in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Lee will officiate at the opening of the Mapletree Business Centre, opened by Mapletree Investments, the property arm of Temasek Holdings.

Singapore is the third-largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with investments of US$37.9 billion (S$53 billion). Bilateral trade with Vietnam stood at $19.8 billion last year. Singapore is also the top foreign investor in Ho Chi Minh City, with investments of US$10.2 billion, largely in the real estate sector.

Mr Lee is accompanied on the visit by Mrs Lee, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Defence Maliki Osman, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng and MP Intan Azura Mokhtar. The delegation also includes senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be Acting Prime Minister in Mr Lee's absence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2017, with the headline 'PM Lee on four-day visit to Vietnam'. Print Edition | Subscribe