Vietnam, Singapore raise ties to 'strategic' level

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Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (R) and his Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, before their talks in Hanoi on September 11. PHOTO: VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY

Vietnam and Singapore have agreed to elevate their 40-year-old relationship into a strategic partnership.

This was confirmed in a joint statement following talks between Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung and his visiting Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday.

The two sides have agreed to promote political ties through regular exchanges, economic, agricultural, legal, and cultural ties as well as cooperation in defense and security, health, and education and training.

They will also strengthen ties in banking and finance, communication, IT, transport, tourism, and urban management and development.

During their talks, the two leaders supported the establishment of friendship associations in their countries to promote exchanges between the two peoples. 

They hailed the continuing development of their security and defense ties on the basis of the 2009 Defense Cooperation Agreement and the 2006 Transnational Crime Prevention Cooperation Agreement which was extended in 2012. 

Dung said Singapore has always been one of Vietnam's top investors and trade partners.

Bilateral trade last year surpassed US$9 billion and Singapore's investment in Vietnam exceeds $28 billion.

Lee promised to promote Singaporean investment in Vietnam and also acknowledged Vietnam's request to enable export of agricultural and seafood produce and garments to Singapore.

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The two PMs appreciated the efficient functioning of the four Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks around the country, with the joint statement calling them symbols of the mutually beneficial relationship between the two nations, and expressed hope for similar success for the fifth VSIP to be built in Quang Ngai Province.

Lee also met with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on Wednesday and President Truong Tan Sang and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung a day later.

He is set to accompany Dung to the groundbreaking ceremony for the Quang Ngai IP today. 

This is Lee's fourth visit to Vietnam.

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