Singapore, Kazakhstan leaders exchange letters to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations

SINGAPORE - Singapore leaders have exchanged congratulatory messages with their Kazakh counterparts to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Singapore and Kazakhstan established diplomatic relations on March 30, 1993.

In a letter to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Singapore President Halimah Yacob noted that ties between both countries have grown from strength to strength over the last 25 years, stemming from the close friendship between founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Nazarbayev.

President Nazarbayev had invited Mr Lee to address his newly-independent country's parliament in 1991 on reforms to Kazakhstan's economy.

Since then, exchanges between both sides have grown considerably, and include tie-ups between Singapore's Civil Service College and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and their counterparts in the Central Asian country, Kazakhstan's Academy of Public Administration and Nazarbayev University.

Both countries are engaged in negotiations for a free trade agreement between Singapore and the Eurasian Economic Union, Madam Halimah noted.

"I look forward to working with you to further enhance our bilateral relations for the mutual benefit of our peoples," she wrote in the letter, which was released by Kazakh officials.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev highlighted the strong ties in his letter to President Halimah on Friday (March 30).

"During the past quarter century, solid political dialogue has been established between the two countries and favourable conditions for the development of trade and economic cooperation have been created," he wrote.

"Kazakhstan and Singapore adhere to similar approaches on key international issues and mutually beneficial cooperation on the international arena," he added, hoping that bilateral ties could be elevated to new levels.

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also wrote to his counterpart Kairat Abdrakhmanov.

"We look forward to more exchanges at all levels to deepen linkages and strengthen ties between our respective leaderships," he wrote.

"There is much that our countries could learn from each other, given our common interest to develop our economies, build up our human resources and groom our next generation of leaders," he added.

Mr Abdrakhmanov, in his letter, looked forward to successfully accomplishing negotiations on the Eurasian Economic Union-Singapore FTA, and to the signing of an agreement to promote and protect bilateral investments between Kazakhstan and Singapore, saying these initiatives will strengthen trade, economic and investment cooperation between both countries.

"Moreover, Kazakhstan and Singapore play important role in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, facilitating land and ocean connectivities and giving our countries tremendous opportunities to strengthen regional trade," he added.