December 12, 2022
SINGAPORE – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be making an official visit to Germany from Monday to Tuesday, and attend an Asean-EU summit in Belgium on Wednesday.
In Germany, he will be meeting Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Kiel, a port city in the north of the country.
PM Lee will also officiate at the launch of two Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) submarines, Impeccable and Illustrious, on Tuesday, with Mr Scholz in attendance, said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a statement on Sunday.
PM Lee’s visit to Germany comes shortly after Mr Scholz made an official visit to Singapore in November.
During that visit, both leaders agreed to deepen collaboration between their two countries through a renewed road map to strengthen the bilateral partnership.
Areas for collaboration in the joint declaration issued during that visit included traditional fields such as defence, education and the economy, as well as newer ones such as renewable energy and climate action.
During the visit to Germany, PM Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, as well as officials from the PMO, RSN and the ministries of defence and foreign affairs.
On Wednesday, PM Lee will attend the Asean-EU Commemorative Summit in Brussels, Belgium.
The summit will be jointly chaired by European Council president Charles Michel, and the 2022 Asean chair, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Leaders from both regional groupings are expected to issue a joint statement at the end of the summit.
The summit marks 45 years of Asean-EU dialogue relations and is an opportunity for both sides to discuss ways to further deepen relations between the two blocs, said the PMO.
It is the first Asean-EU summit involving the leaders of the member states of Asean and of the European Union.
The summit caps a busy year for Asean, which has held several in-person meetings with its key partners following the lifting of Covid-19 measures in the region and worldwide.
In May, the Asean-US Special Summit was held in Washington, while the 40th and 41st Asean summits and related summits were held in Phnom Penh in November.
In Brussels, PM Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee, Dr Balakrishnan, as well as officials from PMO and the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
While PM Lee is away from Monday to Friday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong will be Acting Prime Minister.
In a separate statement, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said Dr Ng will be on an official visit to Germany from Monday to Wednesday.
It added that at the submarine launch ceremony, the vessels will be launched by Mrs Lee as the Lady Sponsor.
In 2019, Dr Ng had officiated at the launch of the first of four Invincible-class submarines that Singapore had procured from German manufacturer Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.
These new submarines are equipped with significantly improved capabilities and will replace the current Archer and Challenger-class submarines, which the RSN has operated for over two decades.
On Wednesday, Dr Ng will call on Germany’s Federal Minister of Defence Christine Lambrecht in Berlin.
Dr Ng’s working visit underscores the warm and growing defence relations between Singapore and Germany, said Mindef.
Germany is Singapore’s largest trading partner in the EU. In 2021, bilateral trade in goods totalled $23.4 billion, accounting for almost 23 per cent of Singapore’s total trade in goods with the EU.