G20 a 'very useful meeting' for Singapore: PM Lee

G20 a 'very useful meeting' for Singapore: PM Lee
PM Lee Hsien Loong taking a group photo with Singaporeans at Munich's Bayerischer Hof hotel in an early celebration of National Day. Photo: Neo Chai Chin
Published: 11:11 PM, July 9, 2017
Updated: 8:10 AM, July 10, 2017

MUNICH — Fresh from meeting world leaders at the G20 Summit, which ended on Saturday (July 8), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met more than 300 Singaporeans living in Germany for an early National Day celebration on Sunday in Munich.

The G20 Summit, a meeting of 20 of the world's leading economies, including the United States, China and the European Union, was a "very useful meeting" for Singapore to attend as an invited guest, Mr Lee told the audience gathered at the Bayerischer Hof hotel.

"Both because of what we discussed in the meeting, but also because it was a chance for me to meet other leaders to touch base with them," he said.

Besides attending the Summit's working sessions, Mr Lee held bilateral meetings with some world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Ahead of the Summit, he was also hosted to lunch by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

They are important "friends and connections which Singapore has", and the meetings were about further collaborations as well as "a signal to both sides (and) to the world that relations are in good order and we're moving ahead", he said.

Mr Trump's Instagram account on Saturday had initially captioned Mr Lee wrongly as Indonesian President Joko Widodo. While he did not mention Mr Trump's gaffe, Mr Lee quipped: "I assure you it was me!"

Mr Lee also said Singapore was doing well and that work was continuing on the Committee on the Future Economy's strategies.

More than 2,000 Singaporeans live in Germany. Singaporeans at the celebration ranged from those who had arrived recently in Germany for their university studies and those who have been living there for over two decades.

Mr Jimson Eng, 23, who arrived in Germany in May, will begin his electrical engineering and informatics course at the Munich University of Applied Sciences in October.

Currently attending German classes at the Goethe-Institut and practical training at electronics firm Rohde & Schwarz, which is sponsoring his studies, Mr Eng said the celebration was a chance to get to know Singaporeans "you never knew lived or studied here".

Mrs Amy Kiesgen, 59, leader of the Singaporean community in Munich, moved to the country in 1994 and is married to a German. Singaporeans in Germany get together on occasions such as Deepavali or Hari Raya, said the housewife and freelance translator.

"I'm a true blue Singaporean. It's something I experienced when I first came to Germany," Mrs Kiesgen, who visits Singapore yearly, added. "You see Asian faces, but they're not Singaporean. This drove me to have our own community."