Singapore PM talks trade, regional security in Australian parliament

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Canberra, Oct 12 (IANS) Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday touched upon a variety of issues such as terrorism and de-radicalisation in Australian parliament, and said both nations had closely aligned “strategic priorities”.

Lee, taking the opportunity to reflect on the friendship between the two nations, hailed the relationship between his country and Australia in an address to the Australian parliament here, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said both the governments share similar values on issues such as terrorism and de-radicalisation.

“(Australian and Singaporean) security agencies work closely and quietly together to fight terrorism, sharing intelligence and information, carrying out counter-terrorism operations, exchanging notes on religious rehabilitation and de-radicalisation programmes,” Lee, here on a three-day visit to sign trade and defence deals, said.

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Earlier this year, both governments signed an agreement for 14,000 Singaporean troops to train in Australia — a deal worth more than $1.7 billion, while a free trade agreement between the nations was also revised and refreshed last year.

Lee said he “looks forward to Singapore and Australia working together to deepen and to strengthen (the relationship)”.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull welcomed Lee’s commitment to further strengthening the security ties between the country and Southeast Asia.

He said both Singapore and Australia have very “similar worldviews” which will assist the fight against terror organisations such as the Islamic State in the future.



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