PM Lee congratulates new Australian PM Morrison, pens valedictory letter to former leader Turnbull

PM Lee congratulates new Australian PM Morrison, pens valedictory letter to former leader Turnbull

Scott Morrison scrambled to the front of the pack after a conservative coup ousted Malcolm Turnbull
Australia's new prime minister Scott Morrison. (File photo: AFP/David Gray)

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written a congratulatory letter to Australia's new prime minister Scott Morrison and a valedictory note to the country's former leader Malcolm Turnbull. 

Mr Morrison, the former Australian Treasurer, was appointed the country's new prime minister after winning a three-way battle for the leadership of the Liberal party on Friday (Aug 24), ousting Mr Turnbull.

READ: Ousted PM becomes the latest casualty of Australia's vicious politics

In a letter dated Aug 26, Mr Lee congratulated Mr Morrison on his appointment as prime minister, noting the excellent relations both Singapore and Australia share across various sectors.

"The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) has further enhanced the close relationship between our countries," wrote Mr Lee.

"You have been a strong advocate for our bilateral relationship under your previous ministerial portfolios of Immigration and Border Protection, and the Treasury, and I look forward to working with you to strengthen our partnership." 

Mr Lee acknowledged Australia's "vital role in safeguarding the rule of law in the global commons, and promoting peace and prosperity in the region".

He said he looked forward to welcoming Mr Morrison in Singapore for the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in November, and invited him to attend the Singapore-Australia Leaders’ Summit next year.

"I wish you every success in your new appointment and look forward to meeting you soon," added Mr Lee.

Mr Lee also wrote to former Australian prime minister Turnbull, whom he called a "good friend of Singapore".

"I am grateful for your strong support for the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership," said Mr Lee.

"This has initiated fresh partnerships and laid the basis for new and long term cooperation between Singapore and Australia."

Mr Lee also thanked Mr Turnbull for his "personal support for Australia’s deeper engagement of ASEAN". 

"I have valued our candid and engaging discussions on issues of mutual concern, and our exchanges, formal and informal, on strategic developments at a time of flux and uncertainty," he wrote.

Mr Lee's letter to Mr Morrison is reproduced below: 

Dear Prime Minister,

Please accept my congratulations on your appointment as Prime Minister of Australia. 

Singapore and Australia share excellent relations across the economic, defence, and people-to-people spheres, underpinned by strategic convergence and historical links. The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) has further enhanced the close relationship between our countries. You have been a strong advocate for our bilateral relationship under your previous ministerial portfolios of Immigration and Border Protection, and the Treasury, and I look forward to working with you to strengthen our partnership.

Australia plays a vital role in safeguarding the rule of law in the global commons, and promoting peace and prosperity in the region. I look forward to working with you to further strengthen our bilateral ties, and to advance our common interests at multilateral fora. As ASEAN Chair, I look forward to welcoming you to Singapore for the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in November 2018. It is also my pleasure to invite you to Singapore for the next Singapore-Australia Leaders’ Summit in 2019.

I wish you every success in your new appointment and look forward to meeting you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Lee Hsien Loong

Mr Lee's letter to Mr Turnbull is reproduced below: 

Dear Malcolm,

I was sorry to learn that you had stepped down as Prime Minister of Australia, and will also be resigning from Parliament. 

You have been a good friend of Singapore. I have very much enjoyed working with you to strengthen our bilateral relations. We chalked up some significant successes. In particular, I am grateful for your strong support for the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). This has initiated fresh partnerships and laid the basis for new and long term cooperation between Singapore and Australia.

I have valued our candid and engaging discussions on issues of mutual concern, and our exchanges, formal and informal, on strategic developments at a time of flux and uncertainty. I would like to thank you for your personal support for Australia’s deeper engagement of ASEAN. Our countries have cooperated closely to uphold shared vital interests, such as free trade, the open multilateral system and the international rule of law. Your bold leadership in giving new life to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership will be widely appreciated and remembered.

Please know that you and Lucy are always welcome in Singapore. Ho Ching and I send both of you our best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Lee Hsien Loong

Source: CNA/aa(ra)

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