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  • Vladimir Putin’s first official visit to Singapore

    In mid-November, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Singapore for a three-day duration. It was Putin’s first official visit to the country. He held a large number of bilateral meetings on the 13th East Asian Summit (EAC).

    The first visit of Vladimir Putin as he arrived in Singapore was to the residence of the head of the Republic – the Palace of Istana, where he met and held private negotiations with the country's President, Halima Jakob. Later, Putin along with Singaporean President, took part in the ceremony of laying the first stone on the Russian Cultural Center and Orthodox Church in Singapore during the opening ceremony.

    On November 14, Vladimir Putin spoke at a plenary meeting of the Russia-ASEAN summit, highlighting once again that Moscow had paid great attention to developing relations with the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations based on mutual respect and consideration for mutual interests. Moreover, Putin stressed that Russia and many other countries were coordinating approaches on the key issues of the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), and progressively developing economic ties.

    So, according to Vladimir Putin, by the end of 2017, Russia's trade with ASEAN increased by 35% and reached $18 billion with the volume of mutually accumulated investments exceeding $25 billion. The Russia-ASEAN Business Council operates. A joint business cooperation roadmap is also being successfully implemented, which includes about 60 projects in various sectors of the economy.

    Indeed, a lot has been done for the last two years since the previous Russia-ASEAN summit: political dialogue has intensified, a permanent Russian representative office of our country has been operating in Jakarta since 2017. In addition, cooperation between Russia and the ASEAN countries in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, and organized crime is being strengthened. ASEAN contacts with the SCO countries are actively developing. The Russian president spoke about all these developments at the Russia-ASEAN summit. In conclusion, Putin invited government officials and ASEAN business representatives to the St. Petersburg Economic Forum and the Eastern Economic Forum, which is to be held in Russia in 2019.

    Vladimir Putin actively communicated with the leaders of the whole world. Singapore, often referred to as Asian New York, can offer financing even to those companies that are under Western sanctions and this factor is very important for Russia. Vladimir Putin had short conversations with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Premier of the PRC State Council Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Bin Mohamad.

    As the result, a number of treaties were signed and important issues were discussed. Several large agreements on investments in Russian projects totaling more than $1 billion have already been signed with Singapore. The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Bin Mohamad, talked about the supply of Russian aircraft and the  Thai Prime Minister, Chan-o-cha, discussed the issues of the increasing flow of Russian tourists to the country. The President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in spoke about the solution of the DPRK nuclear problem.

    Putin also held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This has been the third meeting held between the leaders of the two countries this year. The result was a statement made by Putin and Abe that Moscow and Tokyo stating that are launching the negotiation process for a peace treaty on the basis of the 1956 Soviet-Japanese declaration.

    On November 15, the final day of his stay in Singapore, Vladimir Putin negotiated with US Vice President Mike Pence. As the Russian President noted, they managed to discuss the preparation of a meeting between the Russian leader with Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Argentina which takes place from November 30 to December 1.

    "Of course, we need a dialogue at the highest level. At the expert level. We are ready to restore full-scale work as much as the American partners are ready,” Vladimir Putin commented.

    On the same day, Vladimir Putin took part in a private meeting of the East Asian Summit (EAC) which is the final part of the ASEAN annual events. EAC is a forum where current world problems ranging from environmental protection to countering terrorism are discussed. The current EAC was no exception as issues such as strengthening regional security, countering terrorism, and prospects for increasing cooperation in the field of health care, high technology, and environmental protection were discussed.

    Vladimir Putin highlighted the importance of a constant dialogue with Asia during his intense three-day visit to Singapore.

    Please contact Russian Asian Business Union, if you are interested in organizing an event or business mission or interested in doing business in Russia.
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