Singapore’s PM Lee to meet President Trump in New York, make first address to UN General Assembly

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks with US President Donald Trump in the Istana on June 11, 2018, the last time the two leaders met. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.


SINGAPORE, Sep 22, 2019, TODAY Online. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will meet United States President Donald Trump during a week-long working trip to New York from Saturday (Sept 21) until Sept 27, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said on Friday, reported the TODAY Online.

The two leaders will be meeting in person for the fourth time. They last met in Singapore during the summit between Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June last year.

In New York, PM Lee will be attending the 54th Appeal of Conscience Foundation Awards dinner, which is held annually by the US-based interfaith organisation, the PMO said.

There, PM Lee will be accepting a World Statesman Award.

The award honours leaders “who support peace and freedom by promoting tolerance, human dignity and human rights by championing these causes in their homeland and working with other world leaders to build a better future for all”, the foundation said previously.

PM Lee will be accompanied by his wife Madam Ho Ching, Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, said the PMO.

During his visit to New York, PM Lee will also lead Singapore’s delegation to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where he will deliver Singapore’s national statement, said the PMO.

The assembly opened on Sept 17, and the high-level general debate starts on Sept 24.

This is the first time PM Lee, who became Prime Minister in 2004, will be attending the UNGA’s general debate. Former PM Goh Chok Tong, now Emeritus Senior Minister, did so thrice in 1995, 1997 and 2000, while the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew attended the UNGA in 1967, 1968 and 1970, though he did not address the assembly.

In 2015, PM Lee said in a Facebook post that he had originally planned to attend the UNGA that year, but “had to give it a miss because it is so soon after the General Election”.

He will attend a series of UN meetings, including the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, and meet his counterparts at the sidelines of the UNGA, the PMO statement said.

PM Lee will also host a reception for members of the Forum of Small States, which was established by Singapore in 1992 at New York as an informal grouping of more than 100 small nations. He will meet overseas Singaporeans at a reception in New York, the statement said.

After that, he will head to Armenia’s capital Yerevan for an official visit from Sept 28 to Oct 1, the PMO added.

In PM Lee’s absence, the role of acting Prime Minister will go to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat from Sept 21 to Sept 30, and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Oct 1 and 2.

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