This is the first official visit to Singapore by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as the Government leader of Vietnam and is taking place to coincide with the two countries’ celebrations of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties and five years since agreeing a Strategic Partnership.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Singapore and attendance at the 32nd ASEAN Summit aims to strengthen the trust and cohesion in the relationship between Vietnam and Singapore, while expressing Vietnam's support for Singapore in the role as ASEAN Chair for 2018, as well as the country’s efforts to boost solidarity and unity in ASEAN and maintain the bloc’s central role in the region.
The friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore have been constantly strengthened and developed. In September 2013, on the occasion of the visit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Vietnam and the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, the two sides issued a joint statement on the establishment of the Vietnam- Singapore Strategic Partnership, which was yet another step in bringing the two countries’ relations to a new stage of long-term sustainable development.
The two countries' leaders regularly exchanged visits and high-level contacts to strengthen mutual trust. The two sides also maintain an annual political consultation mechanism at deputy foreign ministers’ level that helps to deepen the mutual understanding between the two Foreign Ministries, providing an opportunity for both sides to discuss regional and international issues of mutual concern.
The economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore has been actively promoted. Since 1996, Singapore has always been one of Vietnam’s largest trade partners. Two-way trade has grown rapidly, reaching US$7.1 billion in 2016 and US$8.3 billion in 2017. Direct investment from Singapore to Vietnam has continuously increased since 1998. Currently, Singapore is the third largest investor in Vietnam, with a total capital of nearly US$42 billion. Singapore's investment projects in Vietnam have seen good results, with the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) serving as a thriving example of the effectiveness of bilateral cooperation. Cooperation in security, national defence, education, culture, sports, tourism, and justice have recorded positive results. The Vietnamese community in Singapore now consists of about 12,000 people, which is facilitated by the local government in residence, study, and business operation, becoming a bridge of friendship to promote bilateral relations.
Vietnam and Singapore have coordinated closely at multilateral and international forums such as ASEAN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the United Nations. Singapore has actively supported and assisted Vietnam in fulfilling its role as host for the APEC Year 2017. Regarding strategic security issues in the region, including the East Sea matters, the two countries have actively cooperated, shared viewpoints and protected the common stance of the ASEAN.
The 32nd ASEAN Summit, hosted by Singapore under the theme “Building a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN”, aims to promote the solidarity, unity, and self-reliance of ASEAN in the face of external pressures, as well as responding to the arising challenges, maintaining the role and status of ASEAN in the region and actively grasping and exploiting the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
At the summit, regional leaders are scheduled to focus on discussing measures to build a self-reliant and creative ASEAN, foster partnerships with the bloc’s partners, and exchange views on regional and international issues of common interest.
December 31, 2015 marked a historical milestone in the formation and development of ASEAN, with the birth of the ASEAN Community, which opened a new stage of development for the association. The ASEAN Community is a diverse, rich, and traditional cultural community. Since joining ASEAN in 1995, Vietnam has fully participated in the cooperative activities in political, security, economic, cultural and social fields, as well as in external relations. It always strictly implements commitments and agreements to contribute to the realisation of the ASEAN Community. Vietnam is ready to join forces with the people of all ASEAN member countries to promote solidarity and unity, and maintain ASEAN's central role in the region.
The official visit to Singapore by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his wife serves to affirm Vietnam’s consistent policy of respecting the strategic partnership with Singapore, while enhancing the trust and cohesion in the relations between both sides to bring benefits to the people of each country.
The Vietnamese PM’s attendance at the ASEAN Summit reflects Vietnam’s support for Singapore in their role as ASEAN Chair for 2018, as well as the country’s efforts to boost solidarity and unity throughout ASEAN and maintain the bloc’s central role in the region, for a Southeast Asia of peace, stability, cooperation, and development.