PM Lee meets Japan, Argentine, EU leaders at G20 Summit

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HAMBURG, Germany: Singapore and Japan have expressed their continued support to explore ways to continue with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), when the prime ministers of both countries met on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit on Saturday (Jul 8). 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe also exchanged views on developments on the Korean Peninsula. “PM Lee expressed Singapore’s grave concerns over the escalating tensions which could jeopardise the peace and stability of the region,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Both leaders also looked forward to further enhancing bilateral cooperation and noted “with satisfaction” that Singapore and Japan successfully held events to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations last year. “Japan is ready to further develop our cooperative relationship with Singapore towards the next 50 years,” said Mr Abe.

The two leaders also discussed the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail and PM Lee welcomed Japan’s interest to bid for the project. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meets Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe at the G20 Summit on 8 July 2017. (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information)

It was a day of bilateral meetings for PM Lee which culminated in his first face-to-face encounter with US President Donald Trump.

Earlier, PM Lee held his first bilateral meeting with Argentine President Mauricio Macri who accepted an invitation to make a state visit to Singapore in 2018.

They welcomed the enhanced engagement between Singapore and Argentina, including the re-opening of the Argentine Embassy in Singapore later this year, said the PMO.

It added that PM Lee and Mr Macri reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in trade and investment facilitation, skills, food security, education, and technology and digitalisation. 

Given that Argentina will assume the G20 presidency in 2018 while Singapore prepares to take the ASEAN chair next year, both sides agreed that there are opportunities for further cooperation.

After speaking with Mr Macri, PM Lee met the President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, in what the PMO described as a fruitful meeting.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meets President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker at the G20 Summit on 8 July 2017. (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information)

They reiterated their support for an early ratification of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA). Negotiations for the free trade deal first began in 2009 and were completed in 2014. However, the top EU court ruled in May that it cannot fully enter force until ratified by all EU countries.

The free trade deal will “greatly benefit our businesses and further deepen our ties,” said the PMO. “Both sides supported an early ratification of the EUSFTA.”

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