|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, alongside seven heads of state and government and foreign dignitaries from 18 countries, attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of Singapore's Independence Day. — Photo http://www.straitstimes.com
SINGAPORE (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of Singapore's Independence Day (9/8/1965-9/8/2015) at the invitation of Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong.
PM Dung, alongside seven heads of state and government and foreign dignitaries from 18 countries, were present at the National Day Parade in Padang.
In total, 50 aircraft and 179 vehicles took part in one of the largest displays of aerial and ground military units ever held at the event.
Some 200,000 people gathered around Marina Bay to watch the parade on seven large LCD TVs set up around on a floating stadium.
Thousands of people sang Singapore's national anthem and saluted their nation during a colourful show of fireworks that concluded the celebration this year.
Earlier, Singapore heard for the first time a recording of Singapore's founding leader PM Lee Kuan Yew reading the Proclamation of Independence.
The recording, made in 2012, was broadcast at 9am on local radio and TV channels, and marked the start of Independence Day ceremonies island-wide.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung earlier attended a roundtable workshop with leading Singaporean businesses.
Singaporean entrepreneurs described the event as a golden opportunity to explore investment in Viet Nam.
The Vietnamese Government leader highlighted the remarkable strides made by the Viet Nam-Singapore strategic partnership, particularly in economics, trade and investment.
He said Singapore was among the leading economic partners of Viet Nam and two-way trade approached nearly US$10 billion last year.
Singapore's investment into Viet Nam has been increasing in recent years, with more than 1,400 projects worth over $33 billion, Dung added.
The Viet Nam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) was a vivid illustration of the sound and effective co-operation between the two countries, he said.
The PM said there was enormous potential for further economic ties between the two nations. The Vietnamese Government welcomed and would create favourable conditions for Singapore firms to boost trade and investment activities in Viet Nam.
He spoke at length about the economic situation in Viet Nam, saying that the country was now home to more than 18,500 foreign investment projects from 103 countries and territories with capital totaling $260 billion.
He added that Viet Nam and Singapore were joining efforts to complete the formation of the ASEAN Economics Community by the year-end.
Additionally, he said, both nations were concluding negotiations for an early signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
The PM said the use of FTA had allowed Viet Nam to open trade relations with 55 countries, including 15 members of the G-20.
He said Viet Nam was taking drastic measures to improve the efficiency of the local economy such as restructuring State-run businesses, banking and finance systems, and public investment.
Simultaneously, the country had continued to improve the market economy and business environment in line with regional and international standards.
Viet Nam's business climate is expected to reach the level of nations in ASEAN-6 (Singapore , Malaysia , Thailand , the Philippines , Indonesia and Brunei ) this year and in ASEAN-4 (Singapore , Malaysia , Thailand and the Philippines ) in 2016, the PM said.
The PM welcomed Singaporean entrepreneurs to study investment or expand operations in Viet Nam in the fields of logistics, real estate, restaurants, hotels, industrial park development, and maritime transport.
PM Dung also received leaders of top Singaporean businesses, such as Sembcorp, Ascendas, and Banyan Tree.
Duke of York
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung received Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, in Singapore yesterday during celebrations to mark the country's 50th year of independence.
The two sides agreed that the strategic partnership between Viet Nam and the UK was developing positively and comprehensively in various fields, especially economics, trade, investment, education and training.
They expressed their belief that Viet Nam and the UK would expand their bilateral collaboration in those fields in the years to come.
Prince Andrew said he had a strong affinity with Viet Nam and its people, and hailed the country's rapid and dynamic development as well as education co-operation with the UK.
He said he hoped the UK University project in the central city of Da Nang would push ahead, adding that he was willing to help Vietnamese businesses to connect with the global market.
The Prince plans to visit Viet Nam later this year.
The same day, the Prime Minister received leaders of Sebrina Holdings Ltd.
On his arrival in Singapore on Friday, the PM met officials from the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore and representatives of the overseas Vietnamese community.
The PM had a meeting with the Speaker of Malaysia's House of Representatives, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Utama Pandikar Amin bin Haji Mulia, on Saturday as part of his official visit to Malaysia.
The PM told the host on co-operation activities between the two countries as well as the outcomes of his talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rajak.
He said that the upgrade of bilateral ties to a strategic partnership was an important milestone marking a great development in the history of the two countries' relations established in 1973.
He also asked the Malaysians to create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in Malaysia so that they can stabilise their lives.
The Malaysian Speaker said the Malaysian Parliament would support agreements reached by the two governments during the visit.
He also promised to actively speak to the Malaysian government about ensuring the rights and interests of Vietnamese people living in Malaysia and humanely treating Vietnamese fishermen and labourers arrested in the country.
He said he would encourage Malaysian parliamentarians to take more actions to effectively realise the bilateral strategic partnership.
As the President of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in 2015, Malaysia would host the 36th AIPA General Assembly in early September, he said, hoping to welcome Viet Nam's National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung to the event.
At the meeting, both sides shared concerns over the recent developments in the East Sea, which have threatened peace, stability and cooperation in the region.
The Vietnamese Government would always welcome and make favourable conditions for Malaysian investors and those from other ASEAN member nations to operate in Viet Nam, the PM told members of the ASEAN Business Club (ABC) at a dialogue in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
At the event, issues related to Viet Nam's policies and investment opportunities were introduced by the PM to ASEAN businesses in general and Malaysian firms in particular.
The PM also briefed participants on Viet Nam's economic situation, saying that the country was entering a new development period with a stable macro-economy, strong growth and curbed inflation.
Viet Nam's GDP increased nearly 6 percent in 2014 and around 6.3 percent in the first two quarters of this year. The figure was forecast to reach 6.5 percent in 2015, he said.
The Prime Minister stressed that Viet Nam was focusing on improving its investment and business climate through promoting economic restructuring and renovating its growth model in order to increase the competitiveness of the economy, enterprises and products.
The country was also focusing on accelerating administrative reforms to build a transparent and effective investment environment, while increasing investment in infrastructure development and human resources to meet the country's development demands.
Viet Nam's participation in the ASEAN Community after it is formed at the end of this year and the signing of new free trade agreements (FTA) between Viet Nam and the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership would help the country reach international standards.
Important legal documents such as the revised Investment Law and Enterprise Law among others would support domestic and foreign investors' operations, he added.
During the dialogue, the PM also highlighted the fruitful results of bilateral co-operation between Viet Nam and Malaysia over the last four decades, saying Malaysia was one of Viet Nam's most important partners in the fields of investment, trade and tourism.
There was great potential for the two nations to increase their links in the future, he noted.
He added that the signing of a joint statement establishing a Strategic Partnership between Viet Nam and Malaysia during his talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Rajak would create favorable opportunities for closer co-operation between the two sides' enterprises.
During his two day visit, made at the invitation of his Malaysian counterpart Najib Rajak, the PM also took the opportunity to meet with Vietnamese Embassy staff and representatives of the Vietnamese community in Malaysia. — VNS