President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s visit to Singapore from February 24-26 is of great significance, as it is the first by a head of state to Singapore since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also the first high-level delegation exchange between the two countries since April 2018 when Phúc visited Singapore as the Prime Minister of Việt Nam.
The statement was made by Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore Mai Phước Dũng when granting an interview to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Singapore.
According to the diplomat, the visit will help elevate the bilateral relation to a new height, reflected in a series of cooperation documents and big contracts expected to be signed in the fields of defence, economy, information and communications, and people-to-people exchanges.
The two countries’ strategic partnership, established in 2013, is at its best and is developing positively in all fields. In the political sphere, the two countries have regularly carried out consultations at ministerial and lower levels. Việt Nam and Singapore share a common assessment of the world situation, and have the same views on global and regional issues.
In terms of economy, Singapore was Việt Nam’s largest investor in 2020 and 2021 and trade relations have continued to thrive despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Dũng said.
Defence and security ties and people-to-people exchanges have also developed well.
In the fight against COVID-19, the two countries have helped each other. In early 2020, Việt Nam provided Singapore with face masks and medical equipment. In 2021, when Việt Nam was facing numerous challenges during the intense fourth wave of infections, Singapore donated a lot of medical equipment to the country through the Temasek Foundation and other organisations with a total value of more than SGD5 million (US$3.72 million), the diplomat said, adding that Việt Nam always appreciates this assistance.
He went on to say that this visit by President Phúc aims to concretise agreements that the two countries’ senior leaders have long discussed on economic infrastructure connectivity, with special focus on the fields that Singapore has great strengths and Việt Nam has demand such as digital transformation, and green and clean energy.
The two sides plan to sign a lot of cooperation documents in these fields, as Singaporean investors are particularly interested in Việt Nam’s green, clean, and renewable energy.
“I hope that through the visit, the aspects that we prioritise will grow stronger,” said the ambassador.
Sharing the positive view on the visit, Assoc. Prof. Vũ Minh Khương from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore said it is a very special and highly anticipated event in the city-state.
Detailing his opinion, Khương told the Vietnam News Agency ahead of the trip that the two countries’ relations are highly inclusive and extensive.
First, Singapore is currently one of the largest foreign investors in Việt Nam as it has poured $56 billion out of the total $400 billion foreign investment registered in the latter. Second, bilateral ties, especially between their enterprises, have become stronger despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The third and most important is that both sides aspire to vigorous development in the post-pandemic period, stronger integration into the world, and better connectivity with strategic friends.
He expressed his belief that President Phúc’s visit will lay important and long-term foundations for the two countries to fully optimise the potential of bilateral relations and capitalise on global trends, particularly in sustainable development, globalisation and digital revolution, to progress in the future.
Both Việt Nam and Singapore have managed to cope with the pandemic, adopted the strategy of “living with COVID-19”, and issued initiatives to mitigate the pandemic’s serious impacts on their economies. Given this, they will have much to share, according to the expert.
In the vision to 2045, Việt Nam looks to become a developed country, which requires its great integration into the world, and Singapore, as a key investor, will surely make substantial contributions to and benefit from this development process.
Khương also pointed out other aspects of bilateral cooperation, including governance, urban planning, renewable energy, and electricity system modernisation, adding that Singapore will continue assisting Việt Nam to increase its integration into the world.
He noted via cooperation, the two countries can help solve the problems of the region and the world.
Regarding their cooperation in regional and international mechanisms, he said Việt Nam and Singapore boast great integration into the world and highly respect the existing institutions that connect countries like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Their own development and bilateral cooperation will considerably contribute to the countries in these mechanisms, especially ASEAN.
The two sides should create an exemplary relationship in terms of strategic trust, economy, and people-to-people ties, Khương said, suggesting frequent meetings be held between their senior leaders and annual reports be made to review their attainments in advancing bilateral relations and contributions to ASEAN, ASEM, and APEC. — VNS