PM Lee, S Korea’s Park discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation
- POSTED: 11 Dec 2013 20:22
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Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye have discussed ways to boost bilateral cooperation and develop new engines for future growth.
SEOUL: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye have discussed ways to boost bilateral cooperation and develop new engines for future growth.
The two leaders met at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Wednesday, the second day of Mr Lee's visit to South Korea.
The meeting came as the two countries sought new ways to strengthen their relationship.
Diplomatic ties between Singapore and South Korea were first established in 1975.
Bilateral ties are strong. The two sides signed a free trade agreement (FTA) that went into force in 2006. And Singapore is South Korea's sixth-largest trading partner.
Total trade between Singapore and South Korea was S$52.7 billion in 2012.
And since the FTA was signed between the two countries, Mr Lee said, there has also been an increase in cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Mr Lee also attended a luncheon hosted by the Korea International Trade Association.
He encouraged South Koreans to take advantage of Singapore's unique position that allows it to serve as a base for South Korean companies operating in the region.
Mr Lee said: "We can help you gain access to the ASEAN market and beyond. And you can take advantage of our unique position to tailor your solutions, products and services, (and) even your business models, to cater to the needs of the Southeast Asian market or sub-markets, or even to the Australian market."
Earlier Wednesday, Mr Lee laid a wreath at the National Cemetery in Seoul.
South Korea's Minister of Strategy and Finance Hyun Ok Seok also called on Mr Lee.
Mr Lee also attended a dinner reception hosted by President Park, where he explained how the two countries had much to learn from each other.
Mr Lee said: "The economies and societies of both Singapore and Korea are undergoing major transitions. We are adapting to our changed circumstances and a more uncertain global environment.
“Singapore is charting a new way forward, to create opportunities for all citizens, to strengthen social safety nets for the vulnerable and elderly, and to keep our society open and mobile to every person regardless of family background.
“Korea, too, is moving towards a new era of hope, underpinned by a creative economy, flourishing cultural and personal happiness."
President Park agreed, saying the two countries have much in common.
She said both nations lack natural resources but have seen economic growth based on excellent human resource.
President Park said: "Currently, our government and Singapore government have much in common in our visions. I believe we can become important partners in realising those visions."
Mr Lee will end his trip to South Korea on December 12 and leave for a visit to Japan.