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‘Singapore is our second largest trading partner in ASEAN’Stresses SME-Startups Minister Hong at Singapore ND party

Vice Chairperson Cho Kyung-hee of The Korea Post for int’l economic cooperation

Minister of Small-Medium Enterprises and Startups Hong Jong-Haak said, “Korea and Singapore are important partners, especially in the economic sector. Singapore is Korea's second-largest trading partner in the ASEAN region and boasts the largest number of Korean construction companies.” Speaking at the National Day celebration reception of Singapore at Grand Hyatt Seoul Aug. 20, 2018, Minister Hong stated, “Furthermore, in the upcoming 4th Industrial Revolution era, Korea and Singapore share the same economic policy—“growth through innovation.” (See excerpts from his speech toward the end of this report.)

Ambassador Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore (2th from left) poses with other guests.

The reception is rated to be one of the best-prepared and best-attended National Day celebration functions in recent years where the food and beverage, according to the guests, were of a very high quality and substantially pleased the palate of the guests.
There were many important guests from the Korean society as well as from the diplomatic community whence many ambassadors attended with their spouses.

From the mass communications circles came a number of publishers and editors who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (owning and operating 3 English, 2 Korean media outlets) with Vice Chairperson Cho Kyung-hee.

National Day celebration reception of Singapore at Grand Hyatt Seoul Aug. 20, 2018


Minister Hong’s congratulatory remarks, in fact, were preceded by a welcome speech by the host, Ambassador Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore in Seoul. Ambassador Yip said in part: “During President visit of President Moon Jae-in to Singapore, our two countries signed several agreements to strengthen cooperation in different fields. Minister Hong was personally involved in the conclusion of a MOU to encourage the SMEs of both countries to jointly explore opportunities in the region. Over the last few weeks, we have already seen positive results in the form of new collaborations between Singapore and Korean businesses.” (See excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Yip at the end of this report.)
The Republic of Singapore, located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, is slightly larger in land space than the area of the City of Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea (south).
According to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs information material, Singapore plays a leading role in the economic growth and industrial development across the region and thus earns its position as one of the ‘Four Dragons of Asia’ along with Korea.
Singapore is also a leading nation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Smart Cities and technological innovation in the late years. As such, Singapore is defined as Gangsoguk, literally, a ‘Small but Powerful Nation.’
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Singapore in 1975, the two countries have maintained close ties between the two governments and people-to-people exchanges in a very vibrant state.
Korea and Singapore are important partners to each other: Singapore was the 9th trading destination to Korea in 2017. Many Korean engineering and construction companies in Singapore are widely known for their successful completion of the landmark buildings as well as execution of major infrastructure projects in the country.
People-to-people exchanges between the two countries have been continuously growing with more than 800,000 visitors in 2017. Demand for increased cooperation between Korea and Singapore is expected to grow considering Singapore’s location as hub in ASEAN and the Korean government’s initiative, “New Southern Policy,” which aims to upgrade its relationship with the ASEAN member countries.

Ambassador Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore (left) poses with Minister of Small-Medium Enterprises and Startups Hong Jong-Haak (right)

Excerpts from the speech of Minister Hong:
On behalf of the government of Korea, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations on the 53rd anniversary of National Day of the Republic of Singapore.
First of all, the state visit of President Moon Jae-in to Singapore last month has brought our bilateral relationship up to a whole new level. I think that it has opened the door to future co-prosperity of Korea and Singapore.
Thanks to the interest and hard work of Ambassador Yip and many other people, we were able to create this great achievement. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the government of Korea.
As President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stressed, Korea and Singapore have maintained close relationship in many areas since the diplomatic tie was established in 1975.
Now, the two countries are important partners, especially in the economic sector. Singapore is Korea's second-largest trading partner in the ASEAN region and boasts the largest number of Korean construction companies.
Furthermore, in the upcoming 4th Industrial Revolution era, Korea and Singapore share the same economic policy - growth through innovation.
I believe that the two countries will be the best partners for future industries, such as artificial intelligence, big data, fintech, and smart city.
During the state visit in July, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups signed the cooperative memorandum of understanding with the Enterprise Singapore. The two organizations agreed to enhance the cooperation of SMEs and startups between the two countries, and will join hands to lead the fourth industrial revolution.
Since President Moon Jae-in took office, the government of Korea has been enthusiastically pursuing "the New Southern Policy" for co-prosperity between Korea and ASEAN region.
Both countries have overcome many challenges since their independence from colonial rule. am sure that this will strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries, including cooperation of SMEs and startups and increase in trade and investment.
Distinguished guests, Korea and Singapore share a lot in
They lack natural resources, but their people have diligence and high enthusiasm for education and always pursue endless innovation. Thus, both countries were able to achieve remarkable economic development for the last half century.
Moreover, the two countries have worked together for world peace. Last June, the first North Korea-U.S. summit was held in Singapore. It helped Asia and the rest of the world take one step toward an era of peace and co-prosperity.
The government of Korea will strive for co-prosperity and peace of the two countries. Once again, I would like to express sincere congratulations on the 53rd anniversary of National Day of the Republic of Singapore.

Ambassador Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore (9th from left) poses with other ambassadors.

Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Yip:
Good evening and thank you for joining us to mark Singapore’s 53rd National Day.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. So I have behind me three images to highlight what a special year 2018 has been for Singapore and for our relations with South Korea.
Singapore is the ASEAN Chair for 2018. We have chosen the themes of “resilience” and “innovation” to reinforce ASEAN’s on-going efforts to build a strong and united Community that can respond effectively to the challenges in the coming decade. As the global political and security landscape become increasingly complex, we need resilience in addressing issues such as radicalism, extremism and cyber security. At the same time, we have to embrace innovation and press ahead with regional integration in order to ride the upcoming digital revolution. To achieve this, ASEAN needs to coordinate closely with our external partners.
It is for this reason that Singapore fully supports South Korea’s New Southern Policy. When President Moon Jae-in made a state visit to Singapore last month, he reiterated his intention to elevate relations with the ASEAN countries through more regular contact among the peoples of the two regions and to engage in more substantive cooperation to promote peace and co-prosperity. In fact, we are already making good progress in terms of increasing bilateral interactions. Recently, the aviation authorities of our two countries agreed to open up direct flights between Singapore and Busan. We expect our airlines to launch this new service within the next few months.
During President Moon’s visit, our two countries also signed several agreements to strengthen cooperation in different fields. Minister Hong was personally involved in the conclusion of a MOU to encourage the SMEs of both countries to jointly explore opportunities in the region. Over the last few weeks, we have already seen positive results in the form of new collaborations between Singapore and Korean businesses. I would like to take this opportunity to convey to Minister Hong my appreciation for his strong personal support for the strengthening of relations between Singapore and South Korea.
Another major achievement for Singapore this year was the hosting of the summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un which took place on 12 June. Since the beginning of this year, we have witnessed a tremendous transformation in the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Much credit has to go to President Moon and the South Korean government for their perseverance in creating the conducive conditions for dialogue through the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the two inter-Korea summits in April and May.
Peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula has far-reaching implications beyond Northeast Asia. Singapore is honored to have been called upon to host the historical summit between the US and North Korea. We are happy to be able to make a small contribution to the dialogue that will hopefully move the process in the right direction. Singapore will continue to work closely with South Korea and the international community to achieve lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (left) stands with Ambassador Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore (center) and Tom Wang director of sales and marketing at the Millennium hilton hotel in seoul (right)

Resume of Minister Hong:
Name: Hong Jong Haak
Title of office: Minister of Small-Medium Enterprises and Startups
1991: Earned a Ph.D. in Economics, University of California
1986: Earned an M.A. in Economics, Yonsei University
1983: Earned a B.A. in Economics, Yonsei University

Nov. 2017 to date: Minister, Ministry of SMEs and Startups
May 2017 to July 2017: Advisor, the 1st Economic division in Presidential Advisory Council on Planning and Coordination
Apr. 2017 to May 2017: Deputy Director, Policy Headquarters, the 19th Presidential Election Planning Group, Democratic Party
May 2012 to May 2016: Member, the 19th National Assembly
Jan. 2009 to Dec. 2011: Director, Korea Economic Justice Institute, the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice
July 2005 to Nov. 2006: Radio Host, 'Tangible Economy' program, Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)
March 1992 to Feb. 2016: Professor, Department of Global Economics, Gachon University

Shin Jin-seon  edt@koeapost.com

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