PM Lee writes to Turnbull and Abbott

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written a congratulatory message to new Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and a valedictory message to former premier Tony Abbott.

In his letter to Mr Turnbull, he wrote: "On behalf of the Government and people of Singapore, I warmly congratulate you on your appointment as Prime Minister of Australia. Singapore and Australia enjoy an excellent relationship, based on strong cooperation on a wide range of issues, including trade and investment, defence and security, education, cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges."

Mr Lee said both countries share similar strategic outlooks and have much work to do for the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) which was concluded in June to further enhance bilateral ties.

He invited Mr Turnbull to visit Singapore and said he looks forward to his official visit to Australia in the middle of next year. "I wish you every success in your new appointment," wrote Mr Lee.

In a separate letter, Mr Lee said he was sorry to read that Mr Abbott had stepped down as prime minister, citing his tireless service and strong leadership. "You can be proud that you are leaving behind a good record of policy achievements, both domestically and externally," Mr Lee wrote.

He thanked Mr Abbott for being a good friend of Singapore and for attending the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's funeral in March. "I deeply appreciated your presence at my father's funeral service," said Mr Lee.

During Mr Abbott's official visit in June, both sides marked 50 years of diplomatic relations by witnessing the adoption of the CSP. Mr Lee described it as a significant milestone in the longstanding friendship between Australia and Singapore.

"The CSP testifies to your leadership and vision, and provides a strong foundation to grow the partnership between our two countries," Mr Lee wrote. He was confident that the former premier will continue to serve Australia with commitment and conviction. Mr Abbott indicated yesterday that he intends to stay on in politics.

"My wife and I wish you, your wife and family good health and every success in your future endeavours," wrote Mr Lee.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2015, with the headline 'PM Lee writes to Turnbull and Abbott'. Print Edition | Subscribe