Vietnam's PM in Singapore to mark 40 years of ties

The Vietnamese Prime Minister was in town yesterday to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic ties with Singapore.

Mr Nguyen Tan Dung met his Singapore counterpart, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, at the Istana, and also called on President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

The relationship has been a fruitful one with bilateral trade estimated to be $15.8 billion yearly.

And total cumulative investment by Singapore companies in Vietnam reached $27.2 billion in 1,150 projects as at April.

The business links received a boost yesterday when both PMs witnessed the presentation of a letter of approval to Sembcorp Industries to build a coal-fired power plant in central Vietnam.

The Istana ceremony marked the official inclusion of the 1,200MW plant in the country's national power development plan.

The energy needs of Vietnam's central region and part of the south will be supplied by the facility, which will be built in the Dung Quat Economic Zone.

Sembcorp chief executive Tang Kin Fei expects the project to be completed in 2020.

The company is also developing a $337.8 million Vietnam- Singapore Industrial Park in Quang Ngai province, its fifth such project in Vietnam.

"This latest project demonstrates the synergy between our utilities and urban development businesses. The industrial park will help bring foreign investment into the Quang Ngai region, create jobs, and accelerate the economic engine in the area," said Mr Tang.

The new power plant will be Sembcorp's second plant in Vietnam. It also has a 33 per cent stake in the Phu My 3 gas-fired facility in southern Vietnam, which began commercial operations in 2004.

Singapore and Vietnam established bilateral diplomatic relations on Aug 1, 1973.

Both countries are working towards signing a strategic partnership agreement this year to mark the 40th anniversary.

The agreement will elevate the existing links between the two countries and open up areas of cooperation in fields such as education, training, finance, defence and security.

Mr Dung, who leaves Singapore today, is in town to deliver the keynote address at the 12th Shangri-La Dialogue organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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