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JOINT STATEMENT BETWEEN THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM AND THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE ON THE OFFICIAL VISIT OF HIS EXCELLENCY LEE HSIEN LOONG, PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE TO VIETNAM (21-24 MARCH 2017)


1 At the invitation of His Excellency Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, His Excellency Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore and Madam Ho Ching paid an official visit to Vietnam from 21 to 24 March 2017. During the visit, Prime Minister Lee was accorded a ceremonial welcome and had a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Phuc who also held a state banquet in Prime Minister Lee’s honour. Prime Minister Lee also called on His Excellency Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and had a meeting with His Excellency Tran Dai Quang, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Her Excellency Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Vietnam. Prime Minister Lee also laid wreaths at the Monument for National Heroes and Martyrs and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. 
2 The two Prime Ministers witnessed the presentation of the Letter of Preliminary Approval from the State Bank of Vietnam to United Overseas Bank on the establishment of a 100% foreign-owned bank in Vietnam.  The two Prime Ministers also witnessed the signing of the following Memoranda of Understanding (MOU): (i) a MOU between the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Viet Nam and Sembcorp Utilities PTE LTD relating to the Dung Quat II (750 MW) gas-fired combined cycle power project; (ii) a MOU on developing a Da Nang Software Hub between the Da Nang People’s Committee and Sembcorp Development Ltd; (iii) a MOU between Vietnam’s State Capital Investment Corporation and Keppel Land Vietnam Company Limited; (iv) a MOU on development of a mixed project of industrial park, township, and service (VSIP) in Quang Tri Province between the People’s Committee of Quang Tri Province and Joint-Venture of Sembcorp Development-Becamex IDC; and (v) a MOU between the Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association and Singapore International Foundation.
3 Both Prime Ministers had a wide-ranging discussion on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. Prime Minister Phuc and Prime Minister Lee reviewed and expressed their satisfaction over the strong development of the bilateral relations, particularly since the establishment of the strategic partnership during Prime Minister Lee’s visit to Vietnam in 2013. Both leaders acknowledged that the bilateral partnership has been strengthened through regular high-level exchanges between the leaders and officials of the Governments, Ruling Parties, Parliaments and through people-to-people links. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the effective bilateral cooperation on education and capacity building. Prime Minister Lee reiterated Singapore’s commitment to continue engaging Vietnamese officials through the Singapore Cooperation Programme and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI).  Both sides also welcomed Singapore enhancing cooperation with the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) through study visits by senior CPV officials under the Agreement on the Study Visit Programme and Executive Education Programme for Senior CPV Officials (2017 to 2019) that was renewed in October 2016.
4 The two Prime Ministers appreciated the development of cooperation between the Parliaments of their countries as an important pillar in the two countries’ strategic partnership. Prime Minister Lee warmly welcomed the official visit of Her Excellency Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Vietnam to Singapore in 2017 and took note of Vietnam’s proposal to establish the Vietnam-Singapore Parliamentary Friendship Association.
5 The two Prime Ministers welcomed the robust trade, investment and economic ties.  Highlighting that Singapore is Vietnam’s 3rd largest investor, Prime Minister Phuc welcomed further investments from Singapore and recognised the importance of creating a pro-business environment, strengthening business-to-business links and facilitating the expeditious resolution of challenges faced by businesses. The two Prime Ministers also agreed that the relevant agencies can explore collaboration in technical assistance and regulatory advice on standards for agricultural and seafood products.
6 The two Prime Ministers affirmed the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIP) as concrete symbols of the strong bilateral economic relationship. They agreed that as Vietnam moves up the value chain, there will be greater opportunities for Singapore companies to participate in higher value-add activities in Vietnam such as the establishment of high-tech industrial parks. Prime Minister Lee noted Prime Minister Phuc’s suggestion to set up more VSIPs in Vietnam on the basis of commercial viability. Prime Minister Phuc welcomed Singapore businesses to participate in public-private-partnership (PPP) projects such as sea ports, airports, roads and bridges, as well as in the privatisation of Vietnam’s state-owned enterprises. 
7 Prime Minister Phuc highly appreciated the proactive participation of Singapore’s financial institutions in Vietnam’s growing financial services industry. Prime Minister Lee reaffirmed Singapore’s continued assistance to Vietnam, in areas of capacity building and in facilitating foreign direct investment and trade between Vietnam and Southeast Asia. 
8 Prime Minister Phuc congratulated Singapore on its remarkable progress towards a smart nation. Both Prime Ministers emphasised the importance of strengthening cooperation in the development of smart cities and urban modernisation, including through the application of information technology and telecommunications in everyday life, urban management, transportation and the environment. Both Prime Ministers looked forward to close cooperation between Singapore and key Vietnamese cities such as Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.
9 Both Prime Ministers discussed the importance of preserving the environment in socio-economic development. Prime Minister Lee took note of Vietnam’s request for assistance in processing and recycling sewage, environmental protection and management of tourism areas and coastal shores.
10 Prime Minister Lee noted the request for a proposed MOU on Labour Cooperation and the proposal on language and vocational training for Vietnamese labourers.
11 Both Prime Ministers expressed appreciation on the signing of the MOU between the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam and the Supreme Court of Singapore in February 2017 on judicial cooperation.
12 The two Prime Ministers welcomed the progressive expansion of the bilateral Air Services Agreement in January 2016. Prime Minister Phuc agreed with Prime Minister Lee that there is greater potential to further enhance air connectivity and grow passenger and cargo traffic movements between and beyond our two countries. Both Prime Ministers looked forward to the ongoing work of the aeronautical authorities in progressively liberalising the Air Services Agreement.
13 The two Prime Ministers acknowledged the significant progress made in defence ties since the signing of the 2009 Defence Cooperation Agreement. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to enhance defence cooperation through high-level visits, consultation mechanisms, bilateral activities that increase friendship, understanding and trust between the two sides as well as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM-Plus. Prime Minister Lee welcomed Vietnam’s proposal to enhance cooperation between the Republic of Singapore Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) and the Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre (RHCC) of Singapore and the relevant institutions of Vietnam.
14 Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to continued cooperation in resolving common security threats such as maritime security, piracy, terrorism and transnational crimes. Prime Minister Lee reaffirmed Singapore’s support for Vietnam’s hosting of the 38thMeeting of ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters in 2017 and the 6th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters in 2018.  Singapore also stood ready to assist Vietnam in capacity building for its law-enforcement forces in fighting against crimes. 
15 The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of deepening regional integration and economic connectivity, which would promote economic growth and facilitate trade in the Asia-Pacific region. They reiterated the commitment to free trade and continued participation in regional initiatives, such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). Both countries will continue to work together with other member countries to find a way forward for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Prime Minister Lee reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to support Vietnam’s 2017 APEC Chairmanship and work with Vietnam to shape APEC’s agenda and priorities beyond the 2020 Bogor Goals. Prime Minister Phuc highly appreciated Prime Minister Lee’s agreement to attend the APEC Summit held in Da Nang in November 2017. 
16 Both Prime Ministers expressed great appreciation and requested officials from both sides to continue to work closely at regional and international fora, such as in ASEAN, APEC, ASEM, and the UN. Noting that 2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN, both Prime Ministers agreed to consolidate and promote ASEAN’s solidarity, unity and centrality, enhance connectivity, raise the effectiveness of ASEAN’s bureaucracy and institutions, facilitate economic growth, narrow the development gap, and build capacity for ASEAN countries to deal with traditional and non-traditional security challenges. Both Prime Ministers noted the transnational challenges both traditional and non-traditional in nature, which affect the well-being of the people in many regional countries.  They also noted that environmental issues including haze, environmental degradation, climate change, water resource security, sea pollution are some of the aforementioned challenges and in this regard they committed to work together to foster cooperation in ASEAN frameworks to appropriately address these transboundary  issues.
17 Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining regional peace and stability and upholding freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea. They stressed the importance of resolving disputes peacefully, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Both sides also reaffirmed their support for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and the early conclusion of a framework for the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) to pave the way for the early adoption of the COC. Prime Minister Phuc highly appreciated Singapore’s proactive role as the country coordinator for the ASEAN-China Dialogue Partnership and reaffirmed that Vietnam would work closely with Singapore to further strengthen the mutually beneficial and longstanding relations between ASEAN and China.
18 Prime Minister Lee expressed gratitude to the warm hospitality extended to him and the Singapore delegation and cordially invited Prime Minister Phuc and his spouse to pay an official visit to Singapore at a mutually convenient time.
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