SINGAPORE - Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang in Vietnam will be part of the Asean network of smart cities being proposed by Singapore, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (April 25).
"I visited all three cities during my two visits to Vietnam last year and was very impressed with their rapid urban development. Their inclusion in the smart cities network will add to Asean's vibrancy," said Mr Lee.
He made the announcement at a dinner he hosted for his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is on a three-day official visit to Singapore ahead of the 32nd Asean Summit this weekend.
The smart cities network, which aims to better connect digital infrastructure and services like e-payments across the region, is Singapore's flagship initiative as the chair of Asean this year.
The Straits Times understands that the 10 Asean countries have put forward 26 cities to be part of the network.
They are expected to issue a statement with more details on Friday (April 27).
Singapore is keen to strengthen Asean's resilience and innovation by developing e-commerce regulation and technology infrastructure and by boosting cybersecurity in the region.
Asean's digital economy is forecast to hit US$200 billion by 2025, according to a report by Temasek and Google last year.
At the dinner, PM Lee and Mr Phuc toasted the close partnership and warm ties between Singapore and Vietnam, which celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations this year.
Mr Phuc, who studied economics at the National University of Singapore in the early 1990s, said: "Singapore has always been a trusted companion and closest among our partners in the region."
When Vietnam opened up, reformed and joined Asean in the 1990s, Singapore stood by its side, said Mr Phuc.
Singapore investment, particularly in the seven Vietnam-Singapore industrial parks, played an important role in Vietnam's economic development, he added.
Earlier, Singapore and Vietnam inked six deals on environmental protection, banking supervision, fintech, renewable energy, liquefied natural gas and trade standards.
Mr Phuc said in his speech that both countries would cooperate in developing their digital economies, using advanced technology, and protecting the environment for the sake of the people.
Mr Lee, for his part, said that Singapore and Vietnam shared a common outlook on many regional issues, including the need to uphold the multilateral trading system and maintain Asean's relevance and centrality.
"Our friendship has strengthened over the past 45 years, and it will only grow stronger given the many bilateral and regional initiatives we are pursuing," he added.
Both countries recently signed the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership, and are working on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact spearheaded by Asean.