[Sponsored Report] Future looks bright for Singapore and Korea
Singapore celebrates its 46th National Day on August 9 and there is cause for optimism on this day. Despite global market uncertainties, the Singaporean economy still grew by 0.5 percent year-on-year. This comes on the back of its strong economic performance in the first quarter of 2011, where the economy grew by 8.3 percent.
Singaporeans work hard but we also play hard and we continue to shape our physical landscape, creating an oasis where Singaporeans and friends of Singapore can live, work and play. “Gardens by the Bay,” comprising three distinctive waterfront gardens in the heart of the Marina Bay area featuring a visual spectacle of tropical and temperate-climate flowering plants and foliage, is scheduled to open officially in June 2012. This will surely complement the already buzzing nearby precinct of the Marina Bay Financial Centre and the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
Elsewhere, Singapore continues to contribute to discussions on important global issues. Singapore held the Singapore International Water Week 2011 from 2 to 6 July, providing policy makers, business leaders and water experts with a global platform to exchange views, explore opportunities and identify solutions to the pressing global search for sustainable water solutions.
Singapore also organized the World Cities Summit 2011 from 28 June to 1 July to address growing concerns about rapid urbanization and population growth. The summit brought together policy makers and urban planners from across the world to identify innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing cities today.
Singapore will also be hosting the Singapore International Energy Week 2011 from 31 October to 4 November. The event will bring together political, business and thought leaders to discuss international energy trends and solutions needed for the world to balance its needs for energy security, environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness.
Singapore’s commitment to sustainable development extends to the nature reserves that entertain while educating the public on important messages of conservation. The “River Safari,” Asia’s first river-themed nature park and home to Singapore’s own pair of giant pandas, will provide visitors with the chance to journey through the world’s greatest rivers and learn the importance of conservation through an up-close and personal view of freshwater animals in their natural habitats. The “River Safari” is scheduled to open in the first half of 2012.
Looking back, Singapore’s bilateral relations with the Republic of Korea have gone from strength to strength over the years. President Lee Myung-bak’s bilateral visit to Singapore in June 2010, where he delivered the keynote address for the Shangri-La Dialogue, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s participation in the Seoul G20 Summit in November 2010, at the gracious invitation of President Lee Myung-bak, clearly symbolizes the comfort-level that has been built up between the leaders of both countries. Strategically, both countries share many common interests. As small countries lacking in natural resources, we are dependent on a free and open international trading system.
Both countries have worked well together in various multilateral fora like the United Nations (UN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Korea has also been a valuable partner in the ASEAN and we look forward to its energetic participation in the various ASEAN projects.
We also think that a Korean peninsula that is stable and nuclear-free is crucial for regional security and development. In this regard, we would like to commend the Republic of Korea for its hosting of the Nuclear Security Summit in 2012.
The bolstering of bilateral relations at the political level has also been augmented at the people-to-people level. In 2010, the number of Korean tourists arriving in Singapore rose by 33 percent. There has also been an 18 percent increase in Singaporean tourists visiting Korea. This rise in tourism figures reflects a growing mutual interest.
The construction of the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel by Ssangyong Engineering & Construction symbolizes the heights that both countries can achieve when working together. We appreciate the fact that there are more than 950 Korean companies in Singapore and we welcome more Korean companies to take advantage of Singapore’s pro-business environment and ideal location in Asia to grow their regional businesses and tap the international talent residing in Singapore.
Looking ahead, there is huge potential for both countries to deepen our collaboration. Moving beyond traditional cooperation in each other’s countries, the complementary skill sets that both countries are able to bring to the table will allow us to complement each other in projects in third countries like China, Indonesia, India and Vietnam.
I believe that with the kind and continuing support from our Korean friends, we can together build stronger and closer Korea-Singapore relations in the years to come. On this auspicious occasion of Singapore’s 46th National Day, let me wish all Singaporeans living in Korea a happy National Day and all Koreans and friends of Singapore a happy and prosperous year ahead.
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