Assistant Political Editor In Berlin
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong begins a working visit to Germany, where he will attend the Group of 20 (G-20) Leaders' Summit.
PM Lee will be hosted to lunch by Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today, before travelling to Hamburg for the summit, where he will also meet United States President Donald Trump and several world leaders tomorrow and on Saturday.
He then travels to Munich, where he will meet business leaders.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement that the PM's six-day visit, at the invitation of Dr Merkel, will reaffirm Singapore's excellent ties with Germany, a close and like-minded partner.
PM Lee and Dr Merkel "will discuss ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest", it added.
At the G-20 summit, PM Lee will take part in discussions on global economic growth, trade and finance, digitalisation and jobs, as well as other global challenges.
Singapore is not a member of the G-20, which comprises 19 major countries and the European Union.
However, it has been invited to participate as a representative of the Global Governance Group (3G), an informal group of 30 small and medium-sized countries that aims to promote greater transparency and inclusivity in the G-20 process.
In a statement yesterday, the 3G called on the G-20 to, among other things, continue undertaking policy actions to support balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth.
It also welcomed the G-20's focus on digitalisation to boost long-term economic growth and employment prospects, especially for youth.
In Munich, PM Lee will have round-table discussions with business leaders and attend a ceremony for newly appointed economic ambassadors for Singapore, as well as the launch of electronics giant Siemens' Singapore Digitalisation Hub. He will also attend a National Day reception with the Singapore community in Germany.
Before he left, PM Lee waived his right to legal immunity for his speeches in Parliament on 38, Oxley Road, fulfilling a promise he had made on Monday. He also released handouts he gave MPs to show how Mr Lee Kuan Yew had, from 2010 to 2012, changed his mind on preserving the house and endorsed plans for redevelopment.
PM Lee is accompanied on his trip by Mrs Lee, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. During his absence, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean is Acting PM.