Jaya Ratnam made the above statement in his interview with VGP on the threshold of the official visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to Singapore on February 8-10 at the invitation of his Singaporean counterpart Hsien Loong.
Regarding the significance of the visit, Ambassador Jaya Ratnam said: "We are very happy to welcome Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to Singapore. This would be the first official visit to Singapore. It is therefore very significant. This would be very significant because of the timing. The timing is just after Tet. In Singapore and Viet Nam, we have just finished the Lunar New Year. We are just starting the Lunar New Year Festival with the first visit of Prime Minister to Singapore. It definitely reflexes the strong significance and importance of the relationship."
The visit takes place at a time in which both countries are commemorating the 50th anniversary of our bilateral relationship and the tenth anniversary of strategic partnership. The visit is a good opportunity for both leaders to chart the course for the next decade of our relationship, according to Jaya Ratnam.
Althought focus in the relations has always been on the economic aspect which is very important, the visit would highlight two other pillars of our relationship firstly the political relationship.
This relationship is built on a very strong foundation of political coordination and strong political trust. The two countries' leaders have built trust and understanding relations particularly since the first high-level visit by Mr. Lee Kuan Yew in Viet Nam in 1992 and then Vietnamese Party General Secretary Do Muoi visited Singapore in 1993. These visits kicked off the development of our relationship.
These strong ties of the leaders allow both sides to engage each other as the two countries are close partners in multilateral forums. The two sides also share many common perspectives on many regional issues and commit to upholding ASEAN centrality and unity, promote open and rule-based orders and deepen regional economic cooperation.
Second part of what Singapore seeks to move forward is people-to-people relationship. This is the economic and political aspects of our relationship which can not grow, can not succeed, can not thrive if boht countries do not have strong people-to-people relationship.
The diplomat said he is happy to see that since both countries opened our borders last year, this connection has grown tourism, cultural exchange, most important, exchange of students from both sides.
A related part of Singapore's ongoing contribution to Viet Nam's human resource development under Singapore's cooperation program trained more than 20,000 Vietnamese officials. Singapore is looking forward to help Viet Nam upgrade human resource potentials.
"I think people-to-people relationship between our two countries would be the firm foundation for all other aspects of bilateral cooperation," emphasized the diplomat.
Ambassador Jaya Ratnam went on to say that economic cooperation has been the cornerstone for the bilateral relationship.
Singapore has been pleased and proud to contribute to Viet Nam's growth. Viet Nam has been one of the strongest economies not only in the region but globally.
Last year, Viet Nam rebounded from COVID-19 pandemic at over 8 percent growth rate. It reflexes the strong determination of both people in Viet Nam but also the clear vision of the Government to chat the course for Viet Nam to move forward.
Singapore's companies have long recognized Viet Nam's economic strength potentials. Singapore has been among Viet Nam's biggest FDI for the last three years.
This reflexed firstly in Viet Nam-Singapore investment parks (VSIP). So far, VSIP Group has operated 12 VSIP projects across Northern, Central and Southern Viet Nam which are concrete symbol of our economic cooperation. They have been very successful, collectively they have attracted over US$17 billion in investment and generated more than 300,000 jobs in Viet Nam.
"We are looking to grow in which we can bring higher quality investment into Viet Nam to ensure better jobs in Viet Nam and also contribute to Viet Nam's growth. Moving forward, we also feed opportunities for Singapore-Viet Nam relations towards many other fields and working towards new growth areas such as digital economy, renewable energy, carbon credit and sustainable infrastructure," said Jaya Ratnam.
Firstly, over the past year, both countries have signed a number of agreements and decided a number of bilateral frameworks. The two sides should deepen our partnership in green and digital economies. Singapore is keen to work with Viet Nam in renewable energy in carbon credit in the long term. It would help strengthen our respective energy security and also contribute to ASEAN as we all seek to seek to achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
Secondly, COVID-19 also highlighted the critical importance of digital trade, e-commerce, climate change resilience and business continuity. Singapore and Viet Nam are keen to develop our digital economies and digital Governments to look forward to create collaboration to harness the digital tools to improve our people's lives.
These are two new key areas in which Singapore and Viet Nam are looking to work with each other as part of the frameworks of green and digital economy even as we move forward on traditional areas of our relationship, according to Jaya Ratnam.
Ambassador Jaya Ratnam expressed his belief that a major focus of the visit will be not at a speed of moving fast but concrete ties and chart the way in terms of how both sides can move forward the signed agreements.
Singapore and Viet Nam have already had strategic partnership, one unique partnership. Both sides have connectivity agreement, framework agreement that connect the two countries, giving the platform for respective Governments to coordinate and push forwards key initiatives such as digital and green economies.
Under the connectivity framework agreement, the diplomat said he is looking forward how both countries can push agreements.
Two key ingredients are needed to push agreements. First is the Governments work with each other. Second, businesses work together and seize the opportunities that are available. We are looking to this visit to concrete ties. Some of these fields of cooperation have been brought to strategic level./.