ESM Goh due in Vietnam to reaffirm bilateral ties

SINGAPORE - Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong will arrive in Vietnam today for a four-day official visit that will reaffirm the close ties between the two countries.

His visit will also build on the strategic partnership established last year when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited the country, a move aimed at deepening cooperation in such areas as finance, security and international collaboration.

Invited by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Mr Goh will travel to the capital Hanoi and to Ho Chi Minh City to see developments since 2007, when he was last in the country.

Singapore is a major trading partner of Vietnam, with total trade tripling in 10 years to US$17.4 billion (S$22 billion) last year. It is also the third-largest investor in Vietnam, with about US$30.6 billion in cumulative investments.

During the visit, Mr Goh will call on or meet five of the 16 members of the Politburo, the highest decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam.

In Hanoi, he will call on the party's general secretary, Mr Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Dung and Hanoi party secretary Quang Nghi.

He will also visit a Vietnamese-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) in neighbouring Bac Ninh province and attend the official opening of Singaporean clothing store DON Lifestyle Concept Gallery.

In all, there are five VSIPs, with the first set up in 1996. These are joint ventures between a Singapore consortium, led by Sembcorp Development, and state-owned Vietnamese enterprise Becamex.

In Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Goh will meet its party secretary, Mr Le Thanh Hai, and People's Committee chairman Le Hoang Quan, whose position is equivalent to that of a city mayor.

He will also attend a reception with Singaporeans living and working there.

Accompanying him are Ministers of State Teo Ser Luck (Trade and Industry) and Lam Pin Min (Health), as well as officials from the Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry ministries, plus International Enterprise Singapore.

This article was first published on September 23, 2014.
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