State Visit by President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Madam Tran Nguyet Thu from 24 to 26 February 2022 at the invitation of Singapore President, H.E. Halimah Yacob
During the visit President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the exchange of a series of bilateral agreements, (see box story) On the sidelines of the State visit, 28 business MOUs were signed between Vietnam’s provinces and businesses with their counterparts. The Leaders reaffirmed the strong and substantive bilateral relationship, and reviewed the multi-faceted cooperation in areas including trade and investment, defence, education, finance, transport, agri-trade, intellectual property, technical assistance, and people-to-people ties. Both Leaders also noted the high-level engagements last year, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s meeting with Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Pham Minh Chinh in April 2021.
Bilateral Agreements Signed
(a) Renewal of the Defence Cooperation Agreement
(b) Memorandum of Understanding on Economic and Trade Cooperation between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam and Singapore
(c) Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Information and Communications of Vietnam and Singapore for cooperation in the field of Digital Economy
(d) Memorandum of Understanding on the Cooperation Programme for 2022-2024 between the Vietnam Fatherland Front and The People’s Association
(e) Implementation Workplan on Intellectual Property Cooperation, pursuant to the Memorandum of Bilateral Cooperation
Singapore-Vietnam Joint Press Statement
The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also published a Joint Press Statement between both countries on Strengthening Strategic Partnership and Recovery Cooperation. IN Diplomacy reproduces the full text of the statement as follows:
Dated 25th February 2022
- At the invitation of Her Excellency Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore, His Excellency Nguyen Xuan Phuc, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and Madam Tran Nguyet Thu made a State Visit to Singapore from 24 to 26 February 2022. President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s State Visit demonstrates the strong mutual commitment to strengthening the Vietnam -Singapore Strategic Partnership, and working closely to support each other to Recover Together from COVID-19.
- During the visit, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc was accorded a ceremonial welcome and called on President Halimah Yacob who also hosted a State Banquet in President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s honour. President Nguyen Xuan Phuc had bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, participated in the Singapore-Vietnam Business Dialogue and met with Singapore business leaders. President Nguyen Xuan Phuc will also have meetings with Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, visit the Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm, and lay a wreath at the monument Commemorative Marker of President Ho Chi Minh. On this occasion, leaders of several Vietnamese Ministries and Provinces who accompanied the President on the State Visit also had separate meetings with their counterparts.
- President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the exchange of a series of bilateral agreements, including the (a) renewal of the Defence Cooperation Agreement; (b) Memorandum of Understanding on Economic and Trade Cooperation between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore; (c) Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Information and Communications of Vietnam and the Ministry of Communication and Information of Singapore for cooperation in the field of Digital Economy; (d) Memorandum of Understanding on the Cooperation Programme for 2022-2024 between the Vietnam Fatherland Front and The People’s Association; and (e) Implementation Workplan on Intellectual Property Cooperation, pursuant to the Memorandum of Bilateral Cooperation. On the sidelines of the State visit, 28 business MOUs were signed between Vietnam’s provinces and businesses with their counterparts.
Strengthening the Singapore-Vietnam Strategic Partnership
- President Halimah Yacob and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomed the excellent progress made in strengthening the Strategic Partnership between Vietnam and Singapore. The Leaders reaffirmed the strong and substantive bilateral relationship, and reviewed our multi-faceted cooperation in areas including trade and investment, defence, education, finance, transport, agri-trade, intellectual property, technical assistance, and people-to-people ties. Both Leaders also noted the high-level engagements last year, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s meeting with Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Pham Minh Chinh in April 2021.
- he two sides committed to further deepening political and economic relations by sustaining regular high-level engagements, and strengthening existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the Connectivity Ministerial Meeting, which held its 15th meeting on 12 November 2021. The Leaders welcomed the agreement on economic and trade cooperation and MOU on digital economy cooperation, which would encourage cooperation in new fields including on regional and global supply chain connectivity, the digital economy, agri-trade, and capitalising on Singapore’s role as a regional hub for regional economic connectivity and development. Recognising the complementarities of both economies, the Leaders agreed to leverage common trade agreements to strengthen bilateral economic ties.
- The Leaders noted with satisfaction the strong development in bilateral trade and investment cooperation despite pandemic-driven disruptions. Notably, Singapore has been Vietnam’s largest source of foreign investment since 2020. Singapore is Vietnam’s second largest cumulative foreign investor, and its largest ASEAN investor, with a total registered capital of US$66 billion as of January 2022. The two sides acknowledged the 25th Anniversary of the first of the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs) and welcomed VSIPs to enhance cooperation and scale expansion in Vietnam toward green, high-tech and innovative parks, and notable contributions to its development.
- President Halimah Yacob and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc reaffirmed the longstanding bilateral cooperation in human resource development and welcomed the Singapore Cooperation Programme’s milestone of reaching over 20,000 Vietnamese officials. They welcomed the signing of the Agreement on the Study Visit Programme and Executive Education Programme for Senior Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Officials (2021-2023) which was renewed for its fourth cycle in June 2021. Both sides noted the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam-Singapore Training Centre, which was upgraded to the Vietnam-Singapore Cooperation Centre in Hanoi in 2018.Both sides were committed to strengthening educational cooperation, including the establishment of more school partnerships and cooperation and exchanges in the field of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship at the higher education level.
- The Leaders acknowledged the good progress in defence and security cooperation, and welcomed the renewal of our agreement on bilateral defence cooperation, which would pave the way for regular dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, education and training, cooperation in military medicine, military intelligence, counter-terrorism, search and rescue, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
- The two sides emphasised the importance of cooperation in combatting transnational crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, economic crimes and cybercrimes. The two sides agreed to expedite efforts to conclude a MOU on cybersecurity cooperation.
- The Leaders agreed to strengthen people-to-people ties including in the spheres of culture, youth, education and tourism. They welcomed the signing of the Letter of Intent between the Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association and the Singapore International Foundation and the signing of MOU between Vietnam – Singapore Friendship Association and Singapore Manufacturing Federation on promoting people-to-people exchanges and entrepreneurship cooperation of the two peoples; and looked forward to stepping up inter-cultural activity, including through the gradual resumption of tourism, and the expansion of education and research exchanges.
Regional and International Developments
- The two sides exchanged views on key regional and international developments. They emphasised the importance of strengthening ASEAN Centrality and unity, deepening regional economic integration including through digital transformation, and upholding rules-based multilateralism to promote peace and stability in the region. They committed to continually pursue close coordination and mutual support at international and regional fora, especially within ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms.
- The Leaders reiterated ASEAN’s consistent position on the South China Sea and reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation and over-flight in and above the South China Sea, and peaceful resolution of disputes without resorting to threat or use of force, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which is of universal character and sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. They underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, and to conduct substantive negotiations towards the conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in accordance with international law, including 1982 UNCLOS. They emphasised the need to maintain and promote an environment conducive to the COC negotiations. They expressed support for meaningful activities to celebrate the 20th anniversary of DOC in conjunction with 40th anniversary of 1982 UNCLOS in 2022.
- The Leaders expressed deep concern about the situation in Myanmar, including the lack of progress in the implementation of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus.The two sides called on Myanmar to fully implement the Five-Point Consensus, including by facilitating the ASEAN Special Envoy’s visit to Myanmar to meet with all the parties concerned. The Leaders also reaffirmed the Chair’s Statement of the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Jakarta on 24 April 2021. The Leaders also called for Myanmar to avoid actions that would be inimical to eventual national reconciliation in Myanmar. Singapore and Vietnam remained committed to supporting ASEAN’s efforts in alleviating the humanitarian situation in Myanmar. While reaffirming ASEAN’s principle of non-interference, the Leaders expressed support for ASEAN’s active role in assisting Myanmar, an integral part of ASEAN Family, to overcome the current crisis and to return to normalcy. The Leaders also reaffirmed the decisions of the 38th and 39th ASEAN and Related Summits on the situation in Myanmar.
Recovering Together and Emerging Stronger from COVID-19
- President Halimah Yacob and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc discussed the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on both countries, reiterated the importance of equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, and welcomed the mutual provision of medical supplies and equipment between Singapore and Vietnam since the beginning of the pandemic.
- The two sides recognised the importance of closer cooperation to enable both countries to recover together, and emerge stronger from the pandemic, toward a robust, inclusive, and sustainable recovery.
- Both sides also stressed the importance of keeping our partnership forward-looking and ambitious by expanding cooperation in new areas of mutual interest such as the digital economy and green economy – including renewable energy, carbon trading and services, low-carbon technologies, and green finance. The two Leaders also supported Infrastructure Asia’s role in facilitating sustainable infrastructure projects in Viet Nam.
Restoring Safe Travel
- They welcomed the progress made by the bilateral working group on COVID-19 public health and border measures, which was formed last year. This includes both sides’ agreement on the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, which will facilitate the safe and early resumption of regular commercial travel between both countries.
Stepping Up Cooperation in Digital Economy
- In recognising the importance of digital transformation and Industry 4.0, both sides welcomed the signing of the MOU on Cooperation in the field of Digital Economy. The MOU will operationalise the Joint Working Group to implement concrete digital economy collaborations, with the objective of fostering bilateral and regional digital connectivity and interoperability. Such collaboration will support the growth of digital businesses and investments in innovation and technology, and improve mutual access to the broader ASEAN market and beyond.
Enhancing Supply Chain Connectivity
- To bolster mutual economic resilience, both sides expressed their commitment to ensuring supply chain connectivity and security. The Leaders agreed on the importance of creating a pro-business environment, and welcomed further mutually beneficial cooperation such as in infrastructure development and smart logistics. In addition, to facilitate market access in both countries and the region, both sides are working closely to better support businesses and the innovation ecosystem in leveraging their intangible assets and intellectual property to drive innovation and economic growth.
- In this regard, the two Leaders welcomed the signing of the new bilateral Implementation Workplan on Intellectual Property cooperation thus laying the ground for further discussions to finalise the details of the proposed launch of a pilot Collaborative Search and Examination (CS&E) programme. This pilot programme will further enhance connectivity and facilitate the entry of innovative products and services into our two countries.
Building A Green Economy
- Both Leaders underscored the importance of advancing environmental protection, climate action, and sustainable development to ensure the well-being of their people and the planet. Given the imperatives of climate action as underscored by COP26, Vietnam welcomed Singapore’s interest to support its ongoing energy transition, including investments in low-carbon energy technologies such as Energy Storage Systems (ESS). Vietnam also welcomed Singapore’s interest to develop renewable energy sources in the country, with a view to export part of the electricity to Singapore in the longer term. This can support the decarbonisation of power grids in both Vietnam and Singapore, in line with broader regional decarbonization interests.
- More broadly, the two sides also welcomed closer bilateral and regional cooperation in responding to transboundary challenges such as haze pollution, water quality, and climate change, and seizing opportunities through circular economy and low-carbon development.
- Both sides commended the strong and substantive development of the Strategic Partnership between the two countries, and agreed to bolster and future-proof cooperation ahead of key milestone anniversaries in 2023: the 50th year of diplomatic relations, and 10th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership.
- President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Madam Tran Nguyet Thu expressed appreciation for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements accorded to the Vietnamese delegation, and invited President Halimah Yacob and Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee to make a State Visit to Vietnam at a mutually convenient time, which President Halimah graciously accepted.