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Vietnam, Singapore call for ASEAN solidarity



From February 8 to 10, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh is scheduled to pay an official visit to Singapore to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam-Singapore relations and promote bilateral cooperation.

Closer relations between these two member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will contribute to the development momentum for the ASEAN community in the face of great challenges ahead.

ASEAN’s choices

ASEAN has been facing enormous challenges in both the immediate and long terms due to the movements of global geopolitics and the potential for shaping a new world order. In particular, the risky military drills at the beginning of 2023 by China and the US in the South China Sea (East Sea as it is known in Vietnam) show that there is no trend of cooling down the confrontation between these two superpowers, even a little.

At the 2023 Regional Prospects Forum hosted by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute on January 10, former Singaporean foreign minister George Yeo said, “We are … in a great transition to a multipolar world which will define this century. This transition will not be smooth.”

ASEAN also faces a bleak global economic outlook. The International Monetary Fund has cut its global growth forecast for 2023 to 2.7%. About a third of the world’s economies will fall into recession this year, the IMF predicts, and the remaining two-thirds will also struggle with supply disruptions, inflation, and rising prices. 

Singapore and Vietnam are both dynamic economies, and fervent supporters of multilateralism. Prime Minister Chinh once said that the more difficulties and challenges ASEAN faces, the more it needs to promote the spirit of “community thinking, community action,” standing shoulder to shoulder, self-reliant and proactive, to meet any challenge.


Therefore, intra-regional solidarity is considered the most necessary key for ASEAN to stand firm in the face of the changing world situation.

In addition, both Vietnam and Singapore recognize that development is the key to many problems, thus the two countries will contribute the growth engine so that ASEAN can effectively address the challenges ahead.

Unite to overcome

Many take the view that the top challenge ASEAN faces is the difficult global economic outlook this year. Southeast Asia’s leading states need to realize that their solidarity and initiative can foster holistic solutions to those challenges.

Vietnam came out of the Covid-19 pandemic in a pretty solid position. The spectacular economic recovery in 2022 has shown that Vietnam has basically successfully overcome the negative impacts of the disease and efforts to slow its spread.

Vietnam’s GDP growth in 2022 was about 8%, while inflation is contained, which is an important encouraging signal for the spirit and desire for development of the Vietnamese people. At least that number contributes some bright colors to the region’s bleak economic picture.

The economies of Vietnam and Singapore are considered by many to have the region’s leading openness and dynamism as well as growing cooperation in the 10 years since the establishment of their Strategic Partnership.

Total import-export turnover between Vietnam and Singapore reached US$7.7 billion in the first 10 months of 2022, rising 15.8% over the same period in 2021. Singapore has about 3,000 valid projects with a total registered capital of nearly $70.3 billion in Vietnam; it is Vietnam’s largest investor in ASEAN and ranks second out of 140 countries and territories investing in the country.


The Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) in Thuan An, Binh Duong province, is a symbol of economic cooperation between the two countries.

The cooperation of these two dynamic countries will not only deal with their own problems but also solve the economic challenges of the entire ASEAN community, which is expected after Chinh’s visit and meetings with Singaporean leaders.

Vietnam and Singapore will jointly contribute their strengths, supporting spread and inclusion. In some respects, Singapore can promote its dynamism and support Vietnam and ASEAN countries to expand their approach to address regional challenges.

Vietnam can also contribute solutions to ASEAN when East and West are polarized. Notably, Vietnam’s excellent agricultural capacity can help the bloc better withstand the global food-security crisis, which is getting worse.

Vietnam and Singapore are also drawing closer together for substantive and effective development, becoming a model of cooperation among ASEAN countries. The two sides are expecting Chinh’s visit to be a boost to bilateral cooperation, including cooperation in science, technology, trade and investment.

Singapore and Vietnam are supporting each other to promote the progress of digital transformation with the foundation of important technology deals.

In 2023 and many years to come, profound changes in the world and regional situation will continue to pose new challenges for ASEAN. It will have to be more resilient and strengthen its internal solidarity by building models of bilateral cooperation.


The visit of the prime minister of Vietnam to Singapore this week, as well as effective bilateral cooperation, will be a driving force for ASEAN solidarity, and resilience against pressure from big countries in a changing world.

Source: Asia Times

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