SINGAPORE: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has sent a congratulatory letter to incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and paid tribute to his predecessor Angela Merkel.
Mr Scholz, a Social Democrat, was elected into office on Wednesday (Dec 8), ending 16 years of conservative rule under Mrs Merkel.
Mr Scholz, 63, served as vice chancellor and finance minister in Mrs Merkel's government.
In a letter provided to the media by Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday, Mr Lee told Mr Scholz that Germany is an "important and trusted" partner for Singapore.
The two met recently in Rome during the G20 Summit.
Mr Scholz last visited Singapore for the World Cities Summit in July 2016 while he was First Mayor of Hamburg. A year later, Mr Lee visited Hamburg for the G20 Summit.
"I am glad that our bilateral ties have continued to deepen, underpinned by robust cooperation spanning the diplomatic, defence, economic, education, environment, research and cultural sectors," said Mr Lee.
"Reflecting the enduring friendship between our two countries, Germany was one of the first countries with which Singapore launched a vaccinated travel lane. This was a key step towards re-establishing air connectivity for vaccinated individuals amidst the pandemic."
Mr Lee said "there is much scope for Singapore and Germany to serve as each other’s hubs in our respective regions".
"We can also work together to strengthen ties between Europe and Southeast Asia, including under the auspices of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement.
"Given the many global challenges that we face, including the pandemic, climate change, and the impact these have had on our supply chains and livelihoods, it is timely that our two countries are looking to broaden cooperation in new areas such as the digital economy, cybersecurity, and sustainability," added Mr Lee.