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Congratulatory Remarks by H.E. Kim Gunn, Deputy Minister for Political Affairs, at the 5th Korea-Singapore Forum
Congratulatory Remarks by Deputy Minister for Political Affairs, at the 5th Korea-Singapore Forum.docx
Congratulatory Remarks by H.E. Kim Gunn,
Deputy Minister for Political Affairs,Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Republic of Korea
The 5th Korea-Singapore Forum
Ambassador Ong Keng Yong,
Deputy Secretary Ng Teck Hean,
President Lee Keun,
Ambassador Ahn and Teo,
Welcome to the 5th Korea-Singapore Forum.
At the outset, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Korea Foundation and the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, the two organizers of this event. They have done excellent work in preparing for the forum. You can imagine the difficulty in arranging event like this in the midst of COVID-19. My warm welcome and sincere thanks also go to all the participants who are with us virtually.
It would have been better if we were having an in-person meeting and talking face to face. Especially, my personal favorites, kopi and kaya toasts are sorely missed this year. I am addicted to it, thanks to Ambassador Teo. However, I am certain that I will find a different kind of joy in virtually interacting with my Singaporean friends. And I hope this forum can create a momentum for revitalizing cooperation between our two countries.
Last September, I went to Singapore using the Fast Track. It was a short, two-day trip, but it was long enough to see great potential between our two countries.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to note that overall, COVID-19 responses by Korea and Singapore were successful, especially in the initial stages. Nevertheless, as the COVID-19 virus has been mutating, we should be doing more to sustain our resilience.
The current COVID-19 crisis drew our attention to innovation as a means of bolstering resilience. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of contactless communication. Today’s virtual forum is a case in point. We can continue our daily lives while avoiding the risk of infection. Innovation has become modus operandi.
One of the areas where we can put innovation to good use is to build smart cities. This is one of the topics of today’s forum. Smart cities make governance more efficient and raise the quality of life. In the post COVID-19 era, smart cities will also make quality healthcare more readily available.
Another item that we can collaborate on is industry of the future. This will be a driving force in the 4th industrial revolution. Korea and Singapore are well-known for our industrial clusters, and we have been working together in many areas.
We can also make our societies more resilient by enhancing cooperation on public health and supply chains.
Speaking of promoting resilience in economy, restoration of the global supply chain is also essential. The global lockdown has paralyzed the global logistics system and increased uncertainty, which led to the supply and demand slump in global trade.
I think an essential element in making the global supply chain more resilient is ensuring the movement of business personnel. Thanks to the Fast Track between Korea and Singapore, hundreds of businessmen were able to go on business trips to Singapore without any difficulty. Unfortunately, the Fast Track has been suspended for now. We should put our heads together to explore ways to facilitate essential travel across borders, including resuming the Fast Track, or establishing the air travel bubble, as soon as possible.
Through such efforts, Korea and Singapore have laid the ground for our substantive cooperation. Now is the time to discuss what we can do to further strengthen our partnership, and what concrete actions we can take to build on the foundation we have already laid.
Korea and Singapore are ideal partners for each other in working together for enhancing resilience and innovation in this region. I hope today’s discussion could serve as a meaningful stepping stone in strengthening these coordinated efforts.
Thank you. /end/
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