President Tony Tan lays wreath at memorial, and book on Italy-Singapore ties is launched

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi welcoming the Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam, in Rome, Italy, on May 23, 2016.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi welcoming the Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam, in Rome, Italy, on May 23, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

ROME - President Tony Tan Keng Yam laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and observed a minute of silence for soldiers who died in World War I, on Tuesday (May 24).

The tomb sits in between two cauldrons of flames at the base of a towering marble monument to the first king of a unified Italy, Victor Emmanuel II.

Dr Tan, who is on the third day of his state visit to Italy, then met the Commissioner of Rome Francesco Tronca at the Campidoglio atop Capitoline Hill.

In conjunction with his visit, a new book on Singapore's development and the history of economic and political ties between Italy and Singapore was also launched by the Italy-Asean Association.


The bilingual publication, titled Italy and Singapore: Converging Differences, aims to raise awareness on the importance of Singapore for Italy and look at future scenarios for the two countries.

"What we're trying to do in the book is to see if both countries can learn from each other's different experiences," said its editor, Italy-Asean Association vice-president Romeo Orlandi.

"History and geography kept Italy and Singapore apart... but globalisation can (produce) common ground for cooperation among companies, institutions and governments," added the professor of globalization and the Far East at the University of Bologna.

Speakers on a panel at the book launch highlighted the strong economic ties between Italy and Singapore and Asean's framework of peaceful cooperation and growth.

Italy's Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation Benedetto Della Vedova said there is potential to further intensify bilateral trade with Singapore.

Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran said both countries are looking at innovation to drive economic growth, for example in transforming manufacturing through technology such as robotics, big data and additive manufacturing.

"Innovation is important, it is also very challenging and resource intensive, so collaboration, what they call open innovation, is very important," he told reporters after the launch event.

The book includes contributions from government representatives such as Mr Della Vedova and Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Josephine Teo, Singapore's Ambassadors-at-Large Tommy Koh and Ong Keng Yong, and Italy's Ambassador to Singapore Paolo Crudele.

Other essays also describe the success of businesses which have made inroads in both countries such as Italian semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics, which established its first back-end assembly plant in Singapore in 1969, and Singapore port operator PSA, which operates two ports in the Italian cities of Genoa and Venice.