President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang is on a State Visit to Singapore from 28-30 August 2016 at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Singapore Tony Tan Keng Yam. On 29 August, President Quang held talks with President Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Both sides reaffirmed the excellent bilateral relations which have been steadily developing since the establishment of the Strategic Partnership in 2013. The regular exchanges between the leaders, officials and peoples of the two countries continue to buttress the strong foundation of the bilateral relationship. President Quang expressed Vietnam's appreciation to Singapore for the capacity-building courses and training programmes conducted under the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP) which have benefitted more than 16,700 Vietnamese officials. These include study visits to Singapore by Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) officials conducted under the Agreement on Study Visit Programme and Executive Education Programme for Senior CPV officials (2013-2015). Both sides agreed to encourage respective relevant agencies to renew the Agreement for the period of 2016 to 2018.
The leaders noted the robust economic, trade and investment cooperation between our countries. Bilateral trade has grown steadily over the last decade, amounting to S$21.6 billion in 2015, with a 10.6% increase year-on-year in 2015. Singapore is Vietnam's 6th largest trading partner, while Vietnam is Singapore's 11th largest trading partner. Singapore is Vietnam's 3rd largest investor, with a total registered investment capital of approximately US$38 billion.
President Quang noted that Singapore's investments have contributed to Vietnam's economic growth and development. These include the successful Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIP) across Vietnam, which have attracted about US$9 billion of investments and created over 170,000 jobs and other hi-tech innovation parks. President Quang also warmly welcomed Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean's visit to Vietnam from 11-14 September 2016, during which DPM Teo would attend the 20th anniversary celebrations of the VSIP's establishment.
Both sides welcomed strengthening bilateral cooperation, including for Vietnam to continue providing a pro-business and investment climate for foreign businesses. Prime Minister Lee noted that sound legal infrastructure was important to build up Vietnam's financial services. He further requested Vietnam to expeditiously issue a foreign-owned subsidiary bank license for United Overseas Bank (UOB) to facilitate provision of financial services in Vietnam for both Singaporean and Vietnamese enterprises. President Quang noted the request and would instruct relevant agencies of Vietnam to work closely with UOB to finalise technical procedures for the issuance. Noting that enhanced regional connectivity will spur economic development in Vietnam through increased mobility of people as well as goods and services, both sides welcomed increasing connectivity through expanding the bilateral Air Services Agreement. Prime Minister Lee requested 5th freedom rights out of major Vietnamese cities.
Both sides took note of strong security and defence cooperation, which contributes to enhancing mutual understanding between the two countries. Building on the 2009 Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA), both sides agreed to: (i) continue bilateral visits and dialogues between the two defence establishments, including the policy dialogue between Singapore's Permanent Secretary for Defence and Vietnam's Deputy Minister of National Defence; (ii) enhance cooperation on strategic studies between research institutes; (iii) strengthen military-to-military interactions such as professional exchanges, as well as multilateral cooperation within the framework of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM-Plus; and (iv) continue with existing security and intelligence cooperation targeted at terrorism, extremism and transnational crime.
Singapore also conveyed its readiness to assist Vietnam in fulfilling its 2017 APEC Chairmanship role through joint initiatives of common interests. With regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Singapore agreed to offer more technical support and help enhance capabilities for the Vietnamese officials.
Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining regional peace and stability and upholding freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea. They emphasised the importance of resolving disputes peacefully, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They reaffirmed their support for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and work expeditiously for the early adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. On this occasion, President Quang expressed his high appreciation for Singapore's efforts in its role as the country coordinator for the ASEAN-China Dialogue Partnership.
President Quang also attended the Vietnam-Singapore Business Forum, met with a few companies with major investments in Vietnam, and witnessed the signing of: (i) a MOU on Cooperation between the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Singapore Business Federation; and (ii) a Memorandum of Agreement for Government Investment Cooperation of Singapore (GIC) to acquire a 7.73% stake in Vietcombank of Vietnam.
On 30 August, President Quang will be hosted to breakfast by DPM Teo and meet with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. President Quang will also deliver the 38th Singapore Lecture organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) - Yusof Ishak Institute on "Strengthening Partnership for Regional Sustainable Development".
President Tan and Prime Minister Lee welcomed the invitation by President Quang to visit Vietnam.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore