ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Singapore, Poland can be gateways for each other: PM Lee
WARSAW: Singapore and Poland can be gateways for each other into their respective regions, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Speaking at a business forum at the start of his first official visit to Poland, Mr Lee said the country is one of the fastest growing "bright lights of Europe", and Singapore can be its partner of choice.
Mr Lee said: "You are 38 million, we are 5.5 million people of whom Singaporeans make up less than 3.5 million. Your land area is several hundred thousand square kilometres, our land area is 700 square kilometres.
"So you're much bigger than us -- you have many more natural resources, but nevertheless we hope we have something to offer and there's advantage to both sides in working together."
Trade between Singapore and Poland increased 70 per cent over a decade, amounting to almost US$500 million last year.
This was far from the full potential of cooperation between the two countries but it is a base from which to grow further, Mr Lee said.
Bringing a business delegation along with him, Mr Lee sounded a positive note for Europe, which is still grappling with the eurozone crisis.
He said: "We believe that Europe has much to offer -- Europe has a great deal of innovation, dynamism, new products, new ideas, and will be looking outward and not just within the European continent for markets, for opportunities, for partners."
In Warsaw, Mr Lee also had time for an unexpected meeting with a small group of exchange students.
They said it was a fortunate, last-minute arrangement that started with a Facebook message.
Chng Pei Ying, a Singapore Management University student who is on an exchange programme at Kozminski University, said: "I only messaged him about yesterday afternoon and we got a quick reply this morning.
"So we were very excited when we turned on our computer, and we invited all our friends this morning."
Fellow student Swenson Chen said: "Now that he visited Poland, I think it's cool to share my experiences with him so far, two months in Poland."
Mr Lee is scheduled to meet key Polish leaders, including Prime Minister Donald Tusk later on Thursday.
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