OSLO - The close partnership between Singapore and Norway will be enhanced through more collaboration in the areas of business, education, as well as research and development, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said on Monday evening (Oct 10).
He added that both countries are maritime nations with open economies, a similarity which has enabled Singapore and Norway to form a mutually beneficially partnership.
Dr Tan, who is on a state visit to Norway, was speaking at a gala dinner held at the Royal Palace in Oslo. His visit is the first by a Singapore head of state to the country.
Dr Tan said that Singapore already has the largest Norwegian business community in Asia, with nearly 400 companies.
He expressed confidence that a Norway-Singapore Business Forum, held on Monday (Oct 10) in conjunction with the state visit, as well as the Norway-Asia Business Summit held in Singapore in April, will encourage more business collaborations.
On the relationship between both countries, Dr Tan said that since the 19th century, Singapore has been an important harbour for Norwegian vessels.
"Geographical distance has not deterred Singapore and Norway from becoming close partners," he said.
He said he was heartened that the universities and research institutions of Singapore and Norway are embarking on collaborations in education, and in research and development.
A total of 10 agreements are expected to be inked on Tuesday (Oct 11) on educational exchanges, renewable energy cooperation, and innovation and technology sharing.
Dr Tan also highlighted Norway's support for Singapore's bid to join the Arctic Council in 2011. He said that Singapore also hopes to strengthen its cooperation with Norway on Arctic-related issues.
He noted that Singaporeans and Norwegians have much in common, sharing "values of resilience, determination and a capacity for hard work".
Dr Tan said these values were exemplified by Norwegian Paralympic swimmer Sarah Louise Rung, who demonstrated determination and grit in winning five medals at the recent Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Before making a toast at the dinner, Dr Tan praised King Harald V's keen interest in Singapore and his personal efforts to build closer relations, which have contributed to the strength of the bilateral ties.
"As Crown Prince, and later King, you have visited Singapore thrice in 1978, 1984 and 2004. We look forward to seeing you again in Singapore soon so that we can reciprocate your kind and generous hospitality," said Dr Tan.