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World News

Singapore, Hong Kong reaffirm ‘close relations’ during Carrie Lam’s visit



Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reaffirmed the “close relations” between Hong Kong and Singapore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday (Aug 3).

Mrs Lam was on the second day of a two-day official visit to Singapore at PM Lee’s invitation.

She called on and was hosted to dinner by Mr Lee on Thursday. Both leaders noted that the two cities share many similarities and challenges, MFA said in a media statement.

While Singapore and Hong Kong compete in some areas, they also cooperate with each other in many fields, it said.

Mr Lee and Mrs Lam discussed deepening Singapore-Hong Kong and ASEAN-Hong Kong cooperation in areas including trade and investment, finance and civil aviation. They also explored potential collaboration on the Belt and Road Initiative, MFA said.

“They welcomed the conclusion of the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement negotiations on Jul 31, 2017 and looked forward to its signing and early implementation,” MFA added.

Mrs Lam had hinted on Wednesday that the free trade agreement could be signed before the end of the year.

Mr Lee also congratulated Mrs Lam on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the mainland this year, and noted that both sides have an interest in the success of “One Country, Two Systems”.

Earlier on Thursday, Mrs Lam attended a lunch hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the National University of Singapore University Town.

DPM Teo and Mrs Lam exchanged views on tertiary and vocational education, research and development, as well as civil service training and reform over lunch.

“DPM Teo expressed confidence that Hong Kong will continue to prosper with its increasing integration with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” MFA said.

Earlier in the day, Mrs Lam called on Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the Istana, where she discussed with him the key priorities of her Administration, including in the areas of economic development, housing and education.

They also spoke about ways to enhance cooperation between both cities, such as innovation and technology, transportation, civil aviation, culture, human resource development and civil service exchanges, MFA said.

During her visit, the Hong Kong chief executive also visited the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Civil Service College, GovTech Hive, as well as the Arts House, where she launched a photo exhibition.

This is Mrs Lam’s first official trip since she was sworn in on Jul 1. It is also the first time in nine years that a Hong Kong chief executive has been to Singapore.

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