On December 12, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited Seoul City Hall to meet with Mayor Park Won Soon. He also received honorary Seoul citizenship and became the thirteenth head of state to become an honorary Seoul citizen.
Honorary Seoul citizenship is given to foreigners who have lived in Korea for three consecutive years, or five years in total, as well as major foreign guests visiting Seoul. Ever since this procedure was introduced in 1958, 714 foreigners from 92 different countries have been given honorary citizenship.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited Korea for three days to attend the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit, and he visited Seoul at the request of the Singaporean Embassy in Korea.
Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared some of the experiences of Seoul’s city management, including IT, transportation, and waterworks, and Singapore’s pursuit of a government-led open economy. Through this meeting, the two leaders strengthened the cooperative relationship and exchanges between Seoul and Singapore.
An Asian financial hub, Singapore is a city-state with a clean and safe environment and a great quality of life. According to the IMF, it is the eighth richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita (USD 56,113). It also has a huge tourism industry and was ranked first for starting a business, third for national competitiveness, and second for economic freedom, attracting vigorous foreign investment. Since the Korea-Singapore FTA took effect in March 2006, trade between the two countries has been growing continuously.
“Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to Seoul not only strengthened the friendly relationship between Korea and Singapore but also will be a chance to build stronger cooperative relations between Seoul and Singapore amidst increasing trade volume between our two countries,” remarked Mayor Park.