Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison discussed the possibility of starting an air travel bubble (ATB) when the two met at the Istana on Thursday (June 10), during the Australian leader's visit to Singapore.
Singapore and Australia will start ATB when both sides ready
The two leaders touched on opening borders bilaterally, and how Singapore and Australia can eventually resume two-way travel.
PM Lee shared that the two countries to build confidence on both sides, they will eventually start with an ATB in a safe and calibrated manner, when they are ready to do so.
Before that happens, some infrastructure and processes need to be prepared first, including the mutual recognition of health and vaccination certificates.
Morrison added that Singapore is the first country besides New Zealand that Australia "wishes to engage in air travel with".
During the meeting, they also discussed matters related to the Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), exploring collaborations on low-emissions solutions to support Singapore's climate change efforts.
PM Lee reiterated the strong relations between Singapore and Australia, noting that the two countries supported each other throughout the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, sharing information about the virus and helping to bring citizens from both countries home, especially when the flights were cancelled.
Explored collaborations and partnerships to support climate change efforts
The Australian leader had stopped by Singapore on the way to the G7 meeting in the United Kingdom, meeting PM Lee in person for the 6th Singapore-Australia Leaders' Meeting.
Morrison last visited Singapore in June 2019 for the 4th Leaders' Meeting.
The previous Leaders’ Meeting was held virtually in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Singapore and Australia established a CSP in June 2015 to deepen and broaden engagement and collaboration.
The bilateral Leaders’ Meeting was established under the Singapore-Australia CSP for the prime ministers of both countries to meet annually to discuss bilateral cooperation and exchange views on regional and international developments.
The CSP comprises five pillars -- economics and trade; defence, security and foreign policy; innovation and science; people-to-people engagement; and digital economy.
In the sixth rendition of the meeting on June 10, PM Lee and Morrison explored opportunities for collaborations and partnerships to support climate change efforts.
Singapore and Australia have agreed to embark on a Low Emissions Maritime and Shipping Initiative, driven by bilateral support for practical action on climate change, and building on progress under the 2020 MOU on low-emissions solutions.
Top image via Ministry of Communications and Information