The president of Singapore Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mary Tan arrived in Oslo on Monday for the first state visit ever from a Singaporean leader. The event sparked the traditional firing of canons from the historic Akershus Fortress at mid-morning as the highly ceremonial gesture of diplomatic ties got underway.
Both diplomatic and business relations between Norway and Singapore have increased considerably since 2004, when King Harald and Queen Sonja went on a state visit to Singapore themselves. The goal then was to boost Norway in Sinagpore as both a tourist destination and a business partner.
Now they’re the hosts, with Norway’s foreign ministry stating that the goal is to “strengthen the bilateral cooperation” between Norway and Singapore, “especially within the maritime industry and offshore” but also in the areas of education and research. Arctic issues and a visit to Tromsø were also on the agenda.
Monday’s program was filled with the traditional welcome ceremony on the grounds of the Royal Palace, meetings between the countries’ political leaders and a royal banquet at the palace Monday evening. Seminars on maritime and rsearch issues and a visit to Oslo’s botanical gardens, with a contribution of seeds from Singapore for the Norwegian-run seed vault on Svalbard, were also on the program before the state visit ends in Tromsø on Wednesday.