Singapore PM and Siew meet at APEC


BALI, INDONESIA — Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) has met with Taiwan’s former Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) on the sidelines of the 2013 leaders’ summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum that opened in Bali, Indonesia Monday.

Siew, who served as vice president from 2008 to 2012, is attending the annual APEC leaders’ meeting on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Lee said in a Facebook post Saturday night that he was pleased to have tea with Siew earlier in the day.

“Caught up over tea with our old friends Vincent Siew and his wife Susan from Taiwan on the sidelines of APEC,” Lee wrote in a photo caption under the name “LHL,” an abbreviation of his English name.

The photo of the smiling group shows Lee and Siew sitting next to each other, with their wives seated in front of them.

The Facebook update has since attracted more than 1,800 likes, over 70 shares and dozens of comments.

Among the comments was one by Henry Koh, who expressed gratitude in Chinese for Taiwan’s assistance to Singapore in its early years as an independent state.

In another comment, Chua Aik Hong Desmond wrote that he loves Taiwan as it is a clean and safe travel destination and its people are very friendly.

“Visited Taiwan thrice, and going again in next January. I love Taiwan because the place is clean, safe and the people there are very friendly and helpful. Good place for vacation, highly recommended,” he wrote.

Kuan Chung-min, head of the Council for Economic Planning and Development who is the spokesman for the Taiwan delegation to the APEC summit, said Siew’s meeting with Lee was a private one and involved no formal bilateral discussions.

Taiwan has been in talks with Singapore on an economic partnership agreement.

Chang Chia-juch, Taiwan’s economics minister, said at the end of the annual APEC ministerial meeting on Oct. 5 that Taiwan could sign an economic partnership agreement with Singapore by the end of the year.

Singapore has already completed its review of the articles in the planned agreement and has offered its opinions to Taiwan, Chang said.

As soon as Taiwan has finished its review, the two sides can sign the pact, perhaps later this year, Chang said.