Enhancing Vietnam-Singapore strategic trust

WVR - In less than 2 years, Vietnam and Singapore have already exchanged 5 high-level visits.
Ngày cuối cùng trong chuyến thăm Việt Nam, Thủ tướng Lý Hiển Long và Thủ tướng Phạm Minh Chính sẽ đồng chủ trì một loạt các hoạt động: Dự Hội nghị thúc đẩy triển khai thực hiện các dự án hợp tác đầu tư Việt Nam-Singapore; gặp gỡ các sinh viên tiêu biểu và
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) and his visiting Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong in Hanoi on August 28, 2023. (Photo: Nguyen Hong/WVR)

High-ranking Vietnamese leaders have visited Singapore included: President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (February 2022), Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (February 2023). Singapore's senior leaders have visited Vietnam include: National Assembly Speaker Tan Chuan Jin (May 2022), President Halimah Yacob (October 2022), and now, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong begins his official visit to Vietnam (August 27-29). The high density of visits in the past one year and a half shows the mutual respect and desire of both countries to further strengthen the Strategic Partnership.

Going back in time, right after the signing of the Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring peace in Vietnam (1/1973), Singapore was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) on August 1, 1973. Notably, Singapore is also one of the first ASEAN countries that Vietnam established a strategic partnership 10 years ago (September 2013).

Over half a century, and especially after being upgraded to a Strategic Partnership, the Vietnam-Singapore relationship has deepened and brought into play its substantive effectiveness. The two countries are currently the most important partners of each other in many fields, from trade and investment to diplomacy, security and defense. In that context, the two countries' leaders regularly conduct bilateral visits is understandable and a positive trend. For Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong personally, Vietnam is a familiar destination. He visited the S-shaped country in 2004, 2010, 2013, 2017 and this is his fifth visit as Prime Minister. This shows the closeness and connection between Singapore and Vietnam as well as between Mr. Lee Hsien Loong and the country which, in the strategic vision of his father, the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015), is the a very special partner in ASEAN of Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's three-day visit is part of a series of events organized by the two sides on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership. The presence of the Head of the Singapore Government in Hanoi during these autumn days of August in response to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's visit to the Merlion island state in February, a successful event which has opened up a lot of prospects for bilateral cooperation, especially in the field of green economy and digital economy.

At the luncheon to welcome the Vietnamese counterpart, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasized that Singapore and Vietnam share the same strategic vision and have high political trust, strong economic cooperation, as well as many opportunities to cooperate in new fields.

Obviously, in addition to the purpose of reciprocating visit in accordance to diplomatic practice, this visit of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong makes an important contribution to strengthening bilateral relations, enhancing the strategic trust between the leaders of the two countries. At the same time, the visits contributes to the realization of existing agreements and the signing of new ones, especially in economic cooperation and in new fields such as digital transformation, digital economy, clean energy and renewable energy.

From the scholar’s view, Associate Professor Vu Minh Khuong, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, under the National University of Singapore, assessed that this visit of Singapore's third Prime Minister is of strategic significance in the context of changing world, when both countries face many opportunities and challenges.

During the time of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Vietnam was a very important country. And today, according to Associate Professor Vu Minh Khuong, Singapore still identifies Vietnam as a particularly important partner, having strategic position and the population of 100 million people, maintaining a development trend and certainly will become a major economy in the near future.

The two sides have strategic trust, share many issues and have the same opinions on many strategic issues because they both depend a lot on the world economy, and both want a peaceful and stable world.

Sharing the same "roof" of ASEAN, Vietnam and Singapore have repeatedly emphasized the role of a balanced diplomatic strategy, strategic autonomy, the ultimate role of international law, as well as the need to maintain a rules-based international order.

Commenting that Vietnam will be a special strategic partner of Singapore in the near future, scholar Vu Minh Khuong said that with this visit to Hanoi, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wants to lay the foundation for the next generation of Singapore in relation with Vietnam.

As part of the exciting exchange of high-level visits between Vietnam and Singapore in recent years, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's official visit to Vietnam continues to strengthen, promote and deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries for peace and stability in the region and the world.

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Translated by Hoang Trang