Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull makes first official visit to Singapore

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will arrive in Singapore on June 2.
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will arrive in Singapore on June 2.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be in Singapore from Friday (June 2) on a three-day official visit.

He is here for the second Singapore-Australia Leaders' Summit, an annual meeting under the comprehensive strategic partnership between both countries.

His visit reflects the excellent state of bilateral relations between Singapore and Australia, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Thursday (June 1).

Ties between the countries were elevated to that of a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2015.

They have since signed a slew of agreements in military training, innovation and science, and to combat transnational drug crime.

Mr Turnbull's visit here, his first since becoming prime minister in 2015, builds on the first Leaders' Summit which was held in Canberra, Australia in October 2016.

The Australian leader will be given an official welcome on Friday at the Istana, where he will call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

Mr Turnbull will also meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who will host him to lunch.

In the evening, Mr Turnbull will deliver the keynote address at the Shangri-La dialogue, an annual security summit for top military brass held in Singapore.

Both prime ministers will open an arts exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum on Saturday. Titled "Ghost Nets of the Ocean", it will showcase sculptures of marine life woven out of abandoned fishing nets by artists from Darnley Island in Australia's Torres Strait.

Mr Turnbull will be accompanied by his wife Lucy, Defence Minister Marise Payne, and foreign affairs, trade and defence officials.

Mr and Mrs Turnbull will have an orchid named in their honour at the Botanic Gardens.

Australia and Singapore are important trading partners, and the third review of their free trade agreement is being ratified.

Singapore is Australia's fifth largest foreign investor, with its stock direct investment worth almost $100 billion in 2015.

Their armed forces also cooperate closely in multilateral arenas like the Five Power Defence Arrangements, and Singapore troops train regularly in Australia.

About 50,000 Singaporeans live in Australia, while more than 20,000 Australians reside in Singapore.