Relations between Singapore and Vietnam have grown from strength to strength since the two countries established bilateral diplomatic relations on 1 August 1973. Bilateral ties, which are excellent and multi-faceted, were elevated to that of a Strategic Partnership in 2013, to mark the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Our leaders meet regularly, either during bilateral visits or at regional and multilateral fora such as ASEAN meetings. Recent high-level bilateral visits include Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang's State Visit to Singapore in September 2011; President Tony Tan Keng Yam's State Visit to Vietnam in April 2012; Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's Official Visit to Singapore in September 2012; Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s Visit to Singapore in May 2013 to deliver the keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue; Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Official Visit to Vietnam in September 2013; Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s Official Visit to Vietnam in September 2014; and Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob’s Official Visit to Vietnam in April 2015. Prime Minister Dung also visited Singapore twice in 2015 – to attend the State Funeral of our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew in March, and to join our Golden Jubilee celebrations in August.
The expansion of trade and business links between Singapore and Vietnam over the years has also been a significant factor in forging robust bilateral ties. Economic relations are underpinned by the Connectivity Framework Agreement, an overarching platform to discuss issues on bilateral economic cooperation. Since its implementation in 2006, the Connectivity Framework has achieved good progress in creating a conducive environment for Singapore companies to invest in Vietnam. As of 2014, Singapore ranked as the third largest foreign investor in Vietnam with registered cumulative investments of US$32.7 billion in over 1,300 projects. The seven Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks in Binh Duong, Hai Phong, Bac Ninh, Quang Ngai, Hai Duong and Nghe An are concrete symbols of the close economic cooperation between the two countries. Singapore also ranks consistently as one of Vietnam's most important trading partners. Bilateral trade in 2014 reached US$ 14.7 billion.
Singapore has also partnered Vietnam in its human resource development. Since 1992, nearly 16,000 Vietnamese officials have received training under the Singapore Cooperation Programme in areas such as healthcare, environment, finance and trade, productivity, public administration and English language training. The Vietnam-Singapore Training Centre in Hanoi, established since 2002, focuses on capacity building for Vietnamese officials and holds courses in relevant fields of study every week. Singapore has also been providing scholarships to Vietnamese students to pursue academic courses including, among others, the ASEAN Scholarships and the NUS Master in Public Management and Master in Public Policy Programmes (post-graduate studies). The interactions between Singaporeans and Vietnamese training and studying together contribute to the further strengthening our people-to-people ties.