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    Jul 14, 2016

    S'pore and Mongolia share similar perspective, says PM

    SINGAPORE has a land area of 719 sq km, a tiny nation compared with Mongolia, which spreads out across 1.56 million sq km.

    But both nations are sandwiched by much bigger neighbours and are fully aware of that, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the start of his official visit to Mongolia yesterday.

    He made the observation at a reception held in the capital city Ulaanbaatar for Singaporeans living and working in Mongolia.

    It was a point, he said, that came from a conversation with a Mongolian leader visiting Singapore more than 10 years ago.

    "I explained to him that Singapore is a small country with two big neighbours, and he said Mongolia is the same."

    With this clear perspective of the way the world is, both know they not only have to make friends with their neighbours but also with countries further afield and to cooperate in a globalised world, he added.

    Mr Lee's four-day trip to the country marks the first official visit by a Singapore prime minister to landlocked Mongolia, which lies between Russia and China.

    Mongolia has about 3 million people, while Singapore has a resident population of 3.9 million.

    Singapore's cumulative foreign direct investment in Mongolia was $143 million as at end-2014.

    About 20 Singaporeans live in Mongolia, most of whom are in teaching.

    During his trip, Mr Lee will also attend the Asia Europe Meeting Summit on July 15 and 16.