S'pore, Korea 'have much to learn from each other'

S'pore, Korea 'have much to learn from each other'

SINGAPORE and South Korea have much to learn from each other as both countries adjust to domestic changes and increasing global uncertainty, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday.

The two Asian Tigers should thus build on their already "excellent" ties, founded on similarities including rapid economic growth and interest in the region's peace and stability, he said at a dinner hosted by South Korean President Park Geun Hye at the Blue House, her official residence.

Mr Lee described Singapore as "feeling a new way forward" in pursuing inclusive growth, while Korea is "moving towards a new era of hope, underpinned by a creative economy, a flourishing culture and personal happiness".

"We have much to learn from each other... I am very glad to enhance our bilateral cooperation in areas like research and development, education, and aviation. These will pave the way for even closer ties in future."

Despite Seoul's sub-zero temperatures, there was distinct warmth between the two Asian leaders, with Ms Park saying Singapore has been "unfailing as a friend" since Korea set up a trade mission in the Republic in 1970.

She also spoke of the warmth and kindness shown her by Mr Lee's parents, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and Mrs Lee. Ms Park's father was former Korean president Park Chung Hee.

She praised Singapore's "diplomatic calibre" and said it was a valued partner in South Korea's foreign policy efforts, including its goal of peaceful reunification with North Korea.

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