Singapore PM visit to strengthen ties with New Zealand

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-10-5 11:23:06

 Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will visit New Zealand next week to underscore strong ties between the two nations, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced Friday.

Lee, who will arrive for a three-day tour on Sunday, is making his second visit to New Zealand since becoming prime minister in 2004, and Lee hosted Key in Singapore in April.

Key said New Zealand's relationship with Singapore was deep and enduring, and the visit underscored the close ties.

"Our two countries share common views on many of the issues that confront us regionally and globally. I look forward to having constructive discussions with Prime Minister Lee," Key said in a statement.

"New Zealand and Singapore share a long history of education and defence cooperation."

Singapore had cemented its position as a key regional hub and gateway into Asia, which was particularly important for New Zealand companies, he said.

"The Closer Economic Partnership agreement between New Zealand and Singapore is one of our most comprehensive. This has resulted in an impressive increase in trade between our two countries, and we have built on this with the P4 agreement and our on-going collaboration towards the Trans-Pacific Partnership," said Key.

"This visit provides an ideal opportunity to reaffirm New Zealand's close and valued friendship with Singapore and we continue to strengthen our cooperation in a broad range of areas, including science and innovation, where strong collaborative relationships have been developed," said Key.

The visit will coincide with a visit by Singaporean naval frigate RSS Stalwart to Wellington from Oct. 6 to 11 ahead of the annual Lion Zeal bilateral exercise between the two military forces.

Exercise Lion Zeal, taking place later this month, is a combined operation designed to enhance the interoperability and strengthen professional relationships between the two forces, according to the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Stalwart would also visit Auckland from Oct. 13 to 16.

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