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PM Lee Hsien Loong visits Mongolia, first visit by Singapore PM since 1970

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits Mongolia today (July 13) for an official visit and to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) Summit.

The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement yesterday (July 12), that this will be a four-day trip and will start with the official visit - the first by a Singapore Prime Minister to Mongolia since diplomatic ties were established in 1970.

Mr. Lee will make an official visit from July 13 to 14, and afterward will attend the 11th Asia‐Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Ulaanbaatar from July 15 to 16.

In the capital city Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Lee will attend the welcome lunch hosted by Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat, who was elected to his post last week after his Mongolian People's Party won the country'sparliamentary election.

Ulaanbaatar, The Capital of Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, The Capital of Mongolia

Mr. Lee will also call on Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and Speaker of Parliament Miyeegombo Enkhbold.

He will also attend a reception where he will meet Singaporeans based in Mongolia, businessmen from both countries, and Mongolians who have attended Singapore's technical assistance programmes and universities.

Relations between both countries are cordial and Singapore has received several high-level visits from Mongolia over the years, the most recent was by Mr Elbegdorj, who made a state visit in 2013. Then-Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold made an official visit in 2011.

Mongolia, with a population of three million, has also sent 1,200 officials to Singapore for training in English, economic development and security, among other things, under the Singapore Cooperation Programme.

Bilateral trade is still modest, and stood at $64 million last year.

Singapore Business Federation stated facts about Mongolia as :

  • Has huge amount of available mining deposit (e.g. copper, zinc, gold, silver, coal)
  • Gives opportunities to trade through maritime transportation via China and Russia
  • Has high level of needs for construction and urban development including housings, infrastructure, construction material supply–manufactures
  • Has open economy with favourable conditions for Foreign Direct Investment

The ASEM biennial summit will mark the 20th anniversary of the informal, inter-governmental dialogue which aims to strengthen links between Asia and Europe.

In all, 34 heads of government and heads of state from 14 Asian and 20 European countries are scheduled to attend the summit to discuss global and regional issues, discuss how to strengthen Asia-Europe cooperation and chart the future direction of ASEM.

Mr. Lee will meet several of the leaders separately, the Prime Minister's Office added.

Accompanying Mr. Lee are Mrs Lee, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, and senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

While Mr. Lee is away, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be Acting Prime Minister on Wednesday (July 13) and Sunday (July 17). Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be Acting Prime Minister from Thursday to Saturday (July 14 to 16).