SINGAPORE: Singapore and France have taken bilateral cooperation up a notch, with the signing of a strategic partnership agreement.
It expands existing collaborations between both countries, in areas like education and cultural exchange.
This comes with French Prime Minister Jean—Marc Ayrault’s two—day visit to Singapore.
In 2011, France was Singapore’s second largest trading partner in the European Union.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore is France’s largest export market.
Outside the economic sphere, both countries have extensive links between universities.
Agencies from the two nations are also jointly organising a showcase of Singapore’s arts and culture in Paris.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the United States is the only other nation with which Singapore has such an agreement.
He said: "It underscores the breadth and depth of our relationship, and reaffirms our shared values and perspectives on international issues. It also reinforces our desire for closer ties between Asia and Europe. I am confident that the strategic partnership will inject fresh impetus to our wide—ranging collaboration, and pave the way for more substantial exchanges in the years to come."
Another key pillar in the Singapore—France relationship is defence cooperation.
Both countries conduct regular policy dialogues, joint military exercises and cooperate closely in defence technology.
France has also been hosting a detachment of Singapore Air Force pilots in Cazaux since 1998.
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