SINGAPORE: President Tony Tan Keng Yam said bilateral relations between Singapore and the United Kingdom have flourished under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
The President was speaking at the welcome dinner he hosted for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who arrived in Singapore on Tuesday as representatives of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Singapore trip is part of an Asia—Pacific tour to commemorate the queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Dr Tan also noted the excellent progress both countries are making in the ongoing negotiations for the EU—Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the EU—Singapore Partnership & Co—operation Agreement which is expected to be concluded by the end of 2012.
He added that both countries enjoy rich cultural relations in the fields of performing arts, visual arts, literature and heritage preservation.
Dr Tan also stressed the deep goodwill between both countries. This includes the extensive collaboration between the educational institutions of both countries which sees over 4,000 Singaporeans pursuing degrees in UK universities each year.
Dr Tan said: "The relationship between our two countries has remained strong and tightly knit over the years, underpinned by deep historical ties, a shared language and substantial mutual interests. Our bilateral cooperation has grown steadily and now spans a broad range of fields, including politics, trade and investment, defence, culture, education and science and technology."
Prince William said: "We are delighted that the relationship between the UK and Singapore is now as close as it has ever been. The high—level visits in both directions — including yours, Mr President, to London earlier this year — the strong trade and investment links, the expanding scientific and educational ties and our close defence cooperation — all make this a particularly close friendship and partnership."
Earlier, a welcome ceremony was held at the Istana for Prince William and his wife Catherine.
Besides President Tan and Mrs Mary Tan, the royal couple also met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee.
At the meetings, Singapore leaders conveyed their congratulations on the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne and reaffirmed the excellent and longstanding relations between Singapore and the United Kingdom.
The Duke also exchanged views with President Tan and PM Lee on the Commonwealth, as well as developments in Europe and Singapore.
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