Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong's visit to Vietnam hoped to deepen the two countries' bilateral relations and cooperation. Photo: IndiaExpress

The visit to Vietnam of the Singaporean Prime Minister is seen as an important political event in the bilateral good relations between Vietnam and Singapore, and it also indicates that Singapore treasures its friendly relationship and comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam.

More specifically, the visit has created a good opportunity for the two sides to discuss both strategic directions and concrete measures to deepen the Vietnam-Singapore strategic partnership in the coming time in response to quick current developments in the fourth industrial revolution, to back each other’s efforts for sustainable development and prosperity, and to expand bilateral cooperation between the two countries in multilateral forums.

The Singaporean Prime Minister is paying a visit to Vietnam at a time when both Vietnam and Singapore are striving to beef up the bilateral relations for practical results.

Vietnam and Singapore established diplomatic relations on August 1, 1973 but since Vietnam joined ASEAN in 1995, bilateral relations have advanced really fast. Particularly, the two countries signed a Joint Declaration on the Comprehensive Cooperation Framework in the 21st Century in 2004, creating a legal basis and favorable conditions for the two sides two boost bilateral friendly relations and multifaceted cooperation.

In September 2013, the two countries issued a Joint Statement on the Establishment of the Vietnam-Singapore Strategic Partnership, on the occasion of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Vietnam visit and the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Singapore is Vietnam’s third largest trade partner in ASEAN and the sixth largest in the world with the two-way trade value of US$ 7.1 billion in 2016. Singapore also ranks third among foreign investors in Vietnam with its total investment in the country of US$ 39 billion. The seven Vietnam-Singapore industrial parks (VSIPs): VSIP 3 in Bac Ninh, VSIP 1 and VSIP 2 in Binh Duong, VSIP 4 in Hai Phong, VSIP 5 in Quang Ngai, VSIP 6 in Hai Duong and VSIP 7 in Nghe An, have symbolized the effectiveness of Singaporean investment in Vietnam as well as of economic cooperation between the two nations.

In terms of defense cooperation, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation in September 2009. Bilateral defense ties between Vietnam and Singapore have been marked by exchange visits of the two countries’ defense ministers, annual defense policy dialogues at the deputy-defense-ministerial level, and meetings of joint working groups.

Over the past years, Singapore has offered many training courses on staff and command, navy, air force, submarine and English to Vietnamese army officers and defense personnel.

The two sides have also signed an agreement on sharing nonmilitary maritime information and a deal on submarine rescue in September 2013.

Singapore and Vietnam have maintained their close coordination in regional and international forums, such as ASEAN, APEC and UN. Singapore supported Vietnam’s joining the UN Human Rights Council in the 2014-16 term and UNESCO in the 2015-19 term, and pledges to back Vietnam’s candidacy for the UN Security Council in 2020-21 term.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has advocated Singapore’s membership of the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The two sides also promote cooperation, share each other’s views and actively protect ASEAN’s principle and position on regional strategic and security issues, including the East Sea (South China Sea) issue.   

Additionally, Vietnam and Singapore bolster cooperation on other areas, including education and training, tourism, finance and justice, in which Singapore provides Vietnam with many technical supports and training courses on improving personnel’s abilities. 

As ASEAN’s members, Vietnam and Singapore share cultural similarities and economic and security interests. Both the countries attach much importance to the bilateral relations and trust each other in cooperation and development. In fact, the Vietnam-Singapore strategic partnership has seen positive developments and brought fruitful results to both nations over the past time.

This serves as a firm basis for all to believe that the Vietnam visit of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be successful, creating a new momentum for Vietnam-Singapore bilateral relations for benefits of each nation as well as for peace and development in the region.

Written by PAN’s Editorial Board   

Translated by Thu Nguyen