PM Lee arrives in Canberra for three-day official visit to Australia; receives 19-gun salute at Parliament House

CANBERRA - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Canberra on Tuesday (Oct 11) evening, the start of a three-day official visit at the invitation of Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull.

Shortly after touching down, Mr Lee posted on Facebook a video students from Avondale Grammar School, an Australian international school at Phoenix Park in Singapore, had sent him.

Responding to the children's various suggestions on where to go, Mr Lee said: "I'd love to grab PM Malcolm Turnbull to go to the beach and have an ice cream together, and visit Uluru, Sydney, Melbourne and Rottnest Island. Sadly, we'll be busy working."

On Wednesday morning, PM Lee and Mrs Lee were welcomed to Parliament House by PM Turnbull and other officials, as well as with a 19-gun salute.

Under Australian military protocol, this is reserved for state officials, field marshals and their equivalent. A 21-gun salute is reserved for heads of state.

He then inspected the guard of honour and band, which went on to play both Majulah Singapura and Advance Australia Fair.

Both countries have sealed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that covers wide-ranging areas including defence, trade, innovation and people-to-people ties, among others. On this visit, both PMs will witness the signing of the first tranche of initiatives under this partnership - on military training, trade, innovation and science, and law enforcement co-operation.

Mr Turnbull said in a release: "The visit will highlight Australia's strong partnership with Singapore, founded on complementary economies, multicultural societies and common interests in regional peace and prosperity."

Said Mr Lee: "Australia is one of our oldest friends, and we share warm ties. Looking forward to the visit!"

This article was first published on October 11, 2016.
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