SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): The Republic has donated 200,000 antigen rapid test kits, 500,000 nasopharyngeal swabs and 100,000 tubes of phosphate buffered saline to Vietnam.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 9), said the symbolic handover ceremony of the donation was conducted by MFA Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and Vietnam Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung.
Both men co-chaired the 14th Singapore-Vietnam Bilateral Consultations on Tuesday, which was held over video conference.
The donations are part of the mutual contributions of medical supplies and equipment between Singapore and Vietnam since the beginning of the pandemic, said MFA.
The statement said Mr Chee and Mr Dung welcomed the formation of the joint working group on Covid-19 earlier this year and have tasked officials to conclude discussions on the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates.
This is to facilitate regularised essential business and official travel and allow for the resumption of regular commercial return flights between both countries.
Both sides also commended the strong practical cooperation to address the Covid-19 pandemic, including maintaining supply chain connectivity, vaccinating citizens residing in each other's countries, facilitating the return of citizens home, and sharing best practices.
The two sides also welcomed "the excellent progress made in strengthening the strategic partnership between Singapore and Vietnam", said MFA.
In particular, they noted the regular high-level engagements over the past year.
These include Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's meeting with Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in April this year as well as Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan's official visit to Vietnam in June this year.
Singapore and Vietnam also reviewed the multi-faceted and substantive cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, defence, education, finance, transport, food and agriculture, technical assistance and enhancing people-to-people ties, MFA said.
The ministry added that both countries held productive discussions on expanding cooperation in key new areas of mutual interest, such as energy, sustainable infrastructure, cyber security, innovation, and the digital economy.
Mr Chee and Mr Dung also exchanged views on key regional and international developments, MFA said.
They emphasised the importance of strengthening Asean unity and centrality, deepening economic integration, and upholding rules-based multilateralism to promote peace and stability in the region.