Singapore, South Korea looking to add more flights

Singapore and South Korea are looking into adding more flights between them to cater to the increasing two-way flow of businessmen and tourists, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday, the last day of his official visit to Seoul.

"We would like to have more flights and... more flights beyond Singapore and Korea," he added.

This means flights from Singapore via Seoul to other destinations and vice versa, a development that would strengthen both cities' positions as aviation hubs, Mr Lee said.

He and South Korean President Park Geun Hye had discussed this air services agreement when they met in Brunei in October, and civil aviation officials from both countries are working towards it.

"They haven't made as much progress as I would have liked, but I asked the President to encourage her officials and I'm going to encourage my officials to work harder to achieve a good agreement, bold with a good balance of benefits," said Mr Lee.

He also expressed satisfaction with his three-day trip to South Korea, his first bilateral visit since 2009. On Thursday morning, he toured electronics giant Samsung, where vice-chairman Jay Y. Lee and co-chief executive officer J.K. Shin gave him a glimpse of the company's new products.

These included wearable technology and solutions for eldercare and the visually impaired, he said in a Facebook update.

"It's a very rapidly growing business; it's a dramatically changing technology. It's going to change the world and Korea is part of this, and I think Singapore is also trying to be part of this," he told reporters.

But South Korea is also looking to grow its smaller firms, which have not expanded overseas as much as the bigger chaebols, or conglomerates, like Samsung, he said.

Singapore is encouraging them to base their regional headquarters and research outfits in the Republic, Mr Lee added. Some, like cosmetics firm AmorePacific, which is behind the Laneige brand, have done so.

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