Orient Magazine Issue 89 - November 2022 | Page 26

Foreign Secretary the Rt Hon James Cleverly MP visits Singapore
The UK ' s Foreign Secretary , the Rt Hon James Cleverly MP , made his first official visit to Singapore in September , just a few weeks after his appointment , indicating the ongoing importance of the Indo-Pacific tilt to UK foreign policy . The Executive Director of the Chamber David Kelly , and Deputy Executive Director Lucy Haydon , were present to witness the Foreign Secretary ' s keynote speech at the Milken Institute Asia Summit , a signficant event in the Singapore calendar each year .
In his speech , available to read in full here , Mr . Cleverly highlighted that at least 1.7 million British citizens live across the Indo- Pacific region . UK trading relationships are worth over 250 billion dollars and growing , and in the decades to come it will be the crucible of solutions to many of the pressing global challenges that we face – from climate and biodiversity to maritime security and geopolitical competition .
Mr . Cleverly was also in town for the launch of the new British International Investment ( BII ) Office , which will be at the core of the UK ’ s development finance institution ’ s Indo-Pacific expansion , recognising Singapore ’ s role as a global financial centre . BII ’ s plans to invest in green infrastructure will support climate resilience and a green economic transition in the region and bring the UK closer to Vietnam , Indonesia , Philippines , Cambodia and Laos .
During his visit the Foreign Secretary met with Singapore ' s Prime Minister , Deputy Prime Minister for Minister for Foreign Affairs . Watch Mr . Cleverly summarising his visit in this video .
PM Lee congratulates new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
On behalf of the Government of Singapore , I extend my warmest congratulations on your appointment as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom ," said Mr Lee said in a letter dated Oct 25 . Singapore and the UK share a " robust " bilateral relationship and " strong historical and people-to-people ties ", Mr Lee wrote . " Our collaboration spans many sectors , including trade and investment , security and defence and research and innovation ," he noted . Mr Lee reaffirmed Singapore ' s commitment to the Financial Partnership , which Mr Sunak signed in June 2021 , to facilitate closer regulatory cooperation and boost jobs , trade and investment .
Mr Sunak was invited to form a new government by King Charles III after he won a Conservative Party leadership vote on Monday . He succeeds Ms Liz Truss , who resigned on Oct 20 after six weeks as prime minister . Mr Lee added that bilateral cooperation between Singapore and the UK has also expanded beyond traditional sectors to include new areas such as the digital and green economies .
The United Kingdom-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement was signed in February and entered into force in June . Mr Lee hailed the agreement as " a milestone for both countries " that will provide " new growth prospects for our businesses ". " I am glad that our officials have begun work on a framework for green economy cooperation , which can create new opportunities for our people and businesses ," he added . Concluding his letter , Mr Lee wished Mr Sunak " the very best in fostering stability and unity in the United Kingdom , and building a better and more prosperous future for the British people ".
" I hope we can work together to strengthen our longstanding and friendly bilateral relations , and I look forward to working with you to strengthen our partnership for the future ," Mr Lee wrote .