Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore: Concrete implementation of the agreements to create tangible outcomes

This year marks the 50th anniversary of our countries’ close diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of our Strategic Partnership. Successive generations of leaders have built on the foundations laid by the Prime Ministers Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and Mr. Vo Van Kiet.
Tổng thống Singapore Halimah Yacob đến thăm Khu Công nghiệp VSIP Bắc Ninh, ngày 18/10/2022.
The Singaporean President Halimah Yacob visited VSIP Bac Ninh Industrial Park, 18/10/2022.

Deepen mutual understanding and bonds

Singapore has always been a strong supporter of Viet Nam’s human resource development. Over 21,000 Vietnamese officials have attended the Singapore cooperation programme courses.

The sizeable community of Vietnamese living in Singapore, numbering around 15,000, has made important contributions to our society. Viet Nam is a popular tourist destination for Singaporeans. There are more than 130 weekly flights operating between our countries. Singaporean youth regularly visit Viet Nam for overseas service-learning programmes, cultural exchanges and community service projects. The Singapore International Foundation and National Youth Council will also organise the 5th ASEAN Youth Fellowship, which will bring youth leaders from across ASEAN to Singapore and Viet Nam later this year. This interconnectivity between our peoples serves as a bridge to deepen mutual understanding and bonds with Viet Nam.

Our economic ties are very strong. Since 2020, Singapore has been the largest source of foreign direct investment into Viet Nam. This reflects Viet Nam’s rapid economic transformation and our confidence in her long term potential. Singapore has been a steadfast partner in Viet Nam’s industrialisation since the 1990s. Our thriving economic links are the product of the close consultations between Mr Lee and Prime Minister Kiet, who had asked Mr Lee to advise Viet Nam on its economic opening. Prime Minister Kiet was also a close friend of Mr. Goh Chok Tong, who mooted the Viet Nam - Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) in 1994.

The VSIP has since become an enduring icon of our bilateral partnership. 14 VSIPs have been established across Northern, Central, and Southern Viet Nam, attracting USD 18.4 billion in investments and creating over 300,000 jobs. In particular, the exciting development of our third VSIP in Binh Duong Province to incorporate digital and green design elements reflect the immense potential of Promote sustainable development

Thủ tướng Phạm Minh Chính gặp Thủ tướng Singapore Lý Hiển Long bên lề Hội nghị cấp cao ASEAN lần thứ 40, 41 diễn ra tại thủ đô Phnom Penh, Campuchia, ngày 12/11/2022.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the sidelines of the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on November 12, 2022.

The VSIPs to respond to global economic demands and build greater resilience.

Our partnership in the recent years has explored new areas such as digital and green cooperation. Singapore and Viet Nam are like-minded in expanding collaboration in the digital economy, renewable energy, carbon credits, green financing, cybersecurity, and sustainable infrastructure. The Green-Digital Economic Partnership signed in February 2023 during Prime Minister Chinh’s Official Visit has paved the way for stronger partnerships between our countries in these areas.

We need to accelerate our cooperation on sustainable development. The global nature of climate change requires countries to come together and develop innovative solutions. In particular, both countries are keen to work together to develop renewable energy. Viet Nam enjoys an abundance of wind and sunlight, which it can harness to generate renewable energy. The government’s efforts towards green transformation, such as the development of the landmark Power Development Plan 8 (PDP8), are impressive and reflect Viet Nam’s forward-looking leadership. This provides a good basis for us to work collectively to realise the broader ASEAN Power Grid vision which will enhance regional energy security.

We can do much more to promote digital cooperation. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial role of digital trade and e-commerce in ensuring business continuity. This is a priority area for our countries and I am glad that our cooperation spans new areas such as cybersecurity, cross-border data flows, smart cities, innovation, artificial intelligence, and digital payments. During President Halimah Yacob’s State Visit to Viet Nam in October 2022, an MOU on Cybersecurity, Cybercrime, Data Flows and Personal Data Protection Cooperation was signed between the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information and the Viet Nam Ministry of Public Security. The first Digital Working Group meeting was also convened in February 2023 to discuss concrete project initiatives. I am certain that there will be more of such collaborations to come, given our common interest to further digital transformation. As we navigate the opportunities and challenges of this digital age, Singapore looks forward to working closely with Viet Nam to expand both countries’ capabilities.

Bộ trưởng Ngoại giao Bùi Thanh Sơn và Bộ trưởng Ngoại giao Singapore Vivian Balakrishnan.
Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on the occasion of 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of their Strategic partnership. (Photo: WVR/Quang Hoa)

Look for new cooperation opportunities

Singapore and Viet Nam also work closely at ASEAN and other international forums. With the increasing uncertainty surrounding the regional security environment and growing demands for protectionism, Singapore greatly values Viet Nam’s support for multilateralism. We are like-minded in our interest to maintain an open and inclusive regional architecture, underpinned by international law.

Through ASEAN, Viet Nam and Singapore have also enjoyed closed cooperation on transboundary issues like public health and sustainability. In particular, Viet Nam’s strong leadership as ASEAN Chair in 2020 to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic is highly commendable. ASEAN is the pillar of our partnership; at a time where geopolitical fault lines are becoming increasingly pronounced, these mechanisms are particularly salient in encouraging dialogue and diplomacy between parties.

We will continue to identify new opportunities for collaboration. We can draw on each other’s strengths and support mutual innovationSingapore and Viet Nam’s ability to respond to the fast-evolving global demands of Covid-19, digital transformation, and energy transition through close collaboration reflects our resilient and substantive partnership.

I am confident that our countries’ friendship will continue to prosper in the next 50 years to come.

Webinar discusses e-commerce opportunities in Singapore, regional countries for Vietnamese goods
Vietnamese products becoming closer to Singaporean consumers
Vietnam-Singapore should bolster cooperation in green economy and digital economy: Ambassador
Vietnam – Singapore relations have grown strongly: Ambassador
Vietnam, Singapore cherish growing 50 year diplomatic ties