PARIS - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his delegation from Singapore had a wide-ranging discussion with French President Emmanuel Macron over dinner on Friday night (July 13), covering issues such as innovation and social harmony.
Amid a looming trade war between the United States and China, the two leaders reaffirmed commitment to a free and open international trading system. They also issued a road map on deepening collaboration on digital issues.
Mr Macron hosted Mr Lee and the Singapore delegation to dinner at the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French president, at 9.30pm Paris time.
This is the first time that the two leaders have met officially.
Mr Lee is in Paris at Mr Macron's invitation, to be the guest of honour at the French National Day Parade on Saturday, during which, for the first time, the Republic of Singapore Air Force personnel based in Cazaux Air Base will take part in the parade, in a combined flypast and as Singapore's Flag Party.
Over dinner, Mr Lee expressed his appreciation to France for hosting the Singapore Air Force's advanced jet training in Cazaux Air Base. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the training.
Mr Lee is accompanied on the trip by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann and officials from the Prime Minister's Office and other ministries.
The two sides spoke about nurturing innovation, responding to technological disruption, developing smart cities and the importance of quality education and social harmony.
They also discussed international developments, noting that the global order, based on openness, globalisation and free trade, has come under great pressure.
They reaffirmed the commitment of Singapore and France to a free and open international trading system, multilateralism, globalisation, the rule of law and sustainable development.
The two leaders welcomed the strengthening of bilateral ties in all sectors, since France and Singapore became strategic partners in 2012.
Mr Lee invited Mr Macron to visit Singapore and to deliver the keynote speech at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue - an invitation the French leader accepted.
Separately, the two leaders issued a France-Singapore road map for deepening cooperation in digital innovation, Internet governance and cyber security.
The road map reaffirms both countries' commitment to an open and secure cyberspace, and to promote bilateral dialogue on cyber issues.