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Singapore, France hail close bilateral relations
SINGAPORE and France reaffirmed ties on Sunday evening at a state banquet that President Tony Tan Keng Yam hosted for visiting French President Francois Hollande.
Speaking during the dinner held at the Istana, Dr Tan said that bilateral relations between Singapore and France are strong, and that the two countries "share deep economic cooperation". He said that the friendship had made great strides during Mr Hollande's presidency and highlighted the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership, which both countries signed in 2012.
Dr Tan said that since then, the two countries have deepened cooperation, not only in traditional areas such as defence, trade, education and culture, but also in emerging areas such as space technology, renewable energies and nuclear safety.
Mr Hollande is the first sitting French president to visit Singapore. His two-day visit reciprocated the state visit Dr Tan made to France in 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Mr Hollande will meet and be hosted to lunch by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday. Mr Hollande will inaugurate the Singapore-France Innovation Forum; and will launch a joint venture between French shipping giant CMA-CGM and Singapore port operator PSA with Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
He will also deliver the 40th Singapore Lecture on France and Singapore: Strategic Partners in a Fast-Changing World.
France was Singapore's second-largest trading partner in the European Union (EU) last year, with bilateral trade valued at S$16 billion.
France is also Singapore's sixth-largest EU investor, with total foreign direct investment at about S$14.8 billion as at the end of 2015.
About 15,000 French nationals make Singapore their second home.