SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written to congratulate Prime-Minister elect of New Zealand, Ms Jacinda Ardern, and invite her to visit Singapore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday (Oct 24).
Ms Ardern, 37, whose Labour party gained the support of kingmaker Winston Peters's New Zealand First party to form a coalition government, is set to be New Zealand’s third female prime minister.
Mr Lee highlighted the two countries' "multi-faceted cooperation in the political, economic, defence, science and technology as well as people-to-people spheres" in his letter.
Singapore and New Zealand have started negotiations for an "enhanced partnership" earlier this year, which Mr Lee said will pave the way for the countries to broaden cooperation.
Mr Lee's letter is reproduced in full below:
19 October 2017
Dear Prime Minister-elect,
On behalf of the people of Singapore, I would like to warmly congratulate you on your appointment as Prime Minister of New Zealand. I am confident that you will provide the strong leadership needed to steer New Zealand through challenging times ahead.
Singapore and New Zealand share excellent bilateral relations, underpinned by shared strategic perspectives. We enjoy multifaceted cooperation in the political, economic, defence, science and technology as well as people-to-people spheres. Singapore is also grateful for New Zealand’s generous support for the Singapore Armed Forces’ training in Waiouru.
I am pleased to note that Singapore and New Zealand have embarked on negotiations for an Enhanced Partnership earlier this year. This paves the way for us to broaden and deepen our cooperation, and solidify our long-standing partnership. Amidst a challenging global climate, it is important for like-minded friends to strengthen their ties. I look forward to your support for the Enhanced Partnership, and hope to work closely with you to further enhance our bilateral ties in the coming years.
I wish you and your government every success, and would like to invite you to make an Official Visit to Singapore.
LEE HSIEN LOONG