Germany and Singapore's common worldview forms basis of friendship: Lawrence Wong

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong meeting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on June 14, 2022. PHOTO: LAWRENCE WONG/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Despite being thousands of kilometres apart, Germany and Singapore share a common worldview based on mutual respect and international law that forms the basis of friendship between the two countries, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Tuesday (June 14).

Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister, had met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is in Singapore on a two-day official working visit until Wednesday - his first to Asia since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

In a Facebook post, Mr Wong said the two leaders had a fruitful discussion on many topics of mutual interest, including managing global challenges such as inflation, rising energy and food prices.

Mr Wong is Acting Prime Minister while Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is on leave this week.

Dr Steinmeier also met Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Tuesday.

Dr Balakrishnan said they had an open exchange of views on the evolving threats to global peace and security, especially the grave situation in Ukraine.

"We hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, and stressed the imperative of respecting sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all countries, as well as upholding international law," he wrote on Facebook.

Both countries share similar strategic perspectives, added Dr Balakrishnan, who said he looked forward to strengthening ties between the two countries and their people.

Dr Steinmeier's schedule on Tuesday also included a visit to TUM Asia, the first subsidiary of Technical University Munich that was set up in Singapore in 2002.

On Tuesday evening, at a reception hosted by the German Embassy Singapore, Dr Steinmeier was presented with the first copy of a new book that commemorates the relationship between Singapore and Germany for the last two centuries.

A project by the embassy, the book Germans In Singapore - Stories From 200 Years Of Friendship In An Age Of Globalisation has been released in both English and German, and contains a foreword written by Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh who, with the author, presented the book to Dr Steinmeier.

The book is written by German travel book author Sabine Hein, who has lived in Singapore for more than 20 years with her husband.

The couple have written several travel guides on living in Singapore.

The book Germans In Singapore - Stories From 200 Years Of Friendship In An Age Of Globalisation has been released in both English and German. PHOTO: GERMANSINSINGAPORE.SG

The new book chronicles the economic, political and cultural relations between the two countries from when the first Germans came to Singapore's shores 200 years ago to present day.

An example of the close ties is Sheba the polar bear, which was sent from Cologne Zoo to Singapore in 1978.

Sheba later gave birth to Inuka in 1990, and both polar bears were crowd favourites before Sheba died in 2012 and Inuka in 2018.

Sheba (right) and Inuka, in a photo taken when Inuka was less than a year old. PHOTO: SINGAPORE ZOO

The book's official launch, slated for later this year, is in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of German European School Singapore, and is supported by the National Heritage Board.

Eighteen Singaporean and German companies, such as ST Engineering, Siemens and Deutsche Bank, are among the book's sponsors.

The book can now be pre-ordered at a discount at this website at $55.90.

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