Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and Trade Minister – Media Release – Visit to Singapore

We will visit Singapore on 21 August for meetings with senior government representatives to further enhance Australia’s relationship with our Comprehensive Strategic Partner and advance our economic, security and defence interests in the region.

Singapore is a key partner for Australia in Southeast Asia. It is our largest trade and investment partner in the region and our fifth largest trading partner overall. We hold joint military exercises and cooperate closely on defence intelligence, science and technology.

We will meet Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to discuss ways for our two countries to work even closer together bilaterally and through regional forums including the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum.

Our Singaporean counterpart ministers will host the 10th Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee (SAJMC), a biennial high level dialogue held between our countries since 1996. During the SAJMC we will explore opportunities to strengthen bilateral cooperation under our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) and share perspectives on a range of regional economic and strategic issues.

Minister Bishop will co-host with Singaporean Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Josephine Teo a high-level Women’s Dialogue, bringing together senior Singaporean and Australian business and government representatives to promote gender inclusive strategies for corporate boards.

While in Singapore, Minister Ciobo will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Strengthening Tourism Cooperation, including research and data sharing to promote travel and boost tourism.

Minister Payne will sign the Pearce Treaty to enable the Republic of Singapore Air Force to continue its training at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia.

Ministers Payne and Ciobo will also lead a business delegation to explore trade opportunities created by the CSP on 21 and 22 August. The delegation, with a strong contingent from North Queensland, will focus on defence, construction and engineering, and communication and technology services.

Visit to South East Asia

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, will travel to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam from 21 to 25 August 2017 as part of a South East Asia visit focussed on strengthening defence relationships and promoting regional cooperation.

Minister Payne will travel from Singapore where she attended the tenth Singapore Australia Joint Ministerial Committee (SAJMC) with Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, and Minister for Trade, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, meeting with both the Thai and Vietnamese Prime Ministers and her counterpart Defence Ministers from all three countries.

“Australia enjoys strong and dynamic defence relationships with Singapore, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, reinforced by the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Thailand and Laos, and the 50th anniversary of ASEAN,” Minister Payne said.

“We will explore opportunities for increased defence engagement activities between our nations, including in maritime security and counter terrorism, share views on the region’s changing dynamics and discuss issues that affect our collective security and prosperity.

“This regional visit comes at a time when the focus of economic and strategic gravity in the world is shifting towards the Indo-Pacific and demonstrates Australia’s commitment to be an enduring, engaged and constructive partner in our region.”