PM Lee meets Abe, praises Japan’s G-20 engagement efforts, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

PM Lee meets Abe, praises Japan’s G-20 engagement efforts

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He meets Japanese leader Abe, reaffirms ties between two nations

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday evening ahead of the G-20 Leaders' Summit in Osaka.

PM Lee welcomed Japan's efforts in its G-20 presidency to strengthen engagement between the G-20 heavyweights and the wider United Nations membership through the Global Governance Group (3G), said a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The 3G is an informal coalition of 30 small and medium-sized states convened by Singapore.

PM Lee and Mr Abe reaffirmed the excellent relations between Singapore and Japan, noting that both sides were pursuing new areas of bilateral cooperation, including infrastructure development in third countries.

They also reiterated their countries' commitment to working closely to achieve an expeditious conclusion to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by the end of this year.

The mega trade pact involves Asean's 10 member states and six of its key partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

PM Lee is in Japan on a working visit until Sunday. He is attending the G-20 summit, which begins today, at the invitation of Mr Abe.

PM Lee thanked Mr Abe for the invitation and expressed support for the ambitious and forward-looking agenda of Japan's G-20 presidency. The theme for the Japanese G-20 presidency is promoting a free and open, inclusive and sustainable, human-centred future society.

A readout of the meeting by Japan's Foreign Ministry noted that both leaders exchanged views on the G-20 Osaka summit's themes of innovation, environment and energy.

Mr Abe said he appreciated PM Lee's participation.

Also on the agenda of G-20 leaders are trade and investment, inclusive and sustainable development, and global health.

Singapore is one of eight non-G-20 countries invited this year. This week's summit is taking place against a backdrop of trade and geopolitical tensions.

Mr Abe recently stressed the importance of making the G-20 summit a meeting that "focuses on where we can agree and co-operate, rather than highlight differences".

PM Lee will take part in summit discussions and have bilateral meetings with leaders of other countries on the summit's sidelines, the PMO said yesterday.

He is accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and senior officials from their respective ministries. Officials from the PMO and Monetary Authority of Singapore are also part of the delegation.