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Turnbull, Lee reach across the table

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by October 11, 2016 General

Malcolm Turnbull and the prime minister of Singapore have reached across the table to shake hands at the start of the pair’s bilateral meeting in Canberra.

Mr Turnbull and Lee Hsien Loong sat down for talks in Parliament House following a ceremonial welcome on Wednesday.

“Prime minister, welcome to you and your colleagues,” Mr Turnbull said at the start of the meeting.

Mr Turnbull noted the significance of the day, with Mr Lee the first prime minister of Singapore to address the Australian parliament.

“It underlines the importance of our relationship,” he said.

“It underlines the fact that we are of the same mind on so many issues.”

Mr Turnbull noted Mr Lee’s recent National Day speech in which he spoke eloquently about the importance of free trade, open markets, innovation and regional security.

“You are here, prime minister, among very good friends.

“We have so much in common and we are advancing our relationship further and further.”

Mr Lee thanked Mr Turnbull for his warm welcome.

“It is a great pleasure and honour to be here, not just to visit you but also to be able to address your parliament,” he said.

The visit will also continue work on the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which was concluded last year.

“It reflects the deep ties between our two peoples,” he said, adding they reach back decades.

Mr Lee said he had read Mr Turnbull’s opinion piece on the relationship in the Australian Financial Review on Wednesday, noting the pair was on the same wavelength.

He hopes Mr Turnbull will visit Singapore in 2017 and the pair can take the relationship another step forward.

The Australian prime minister sat alongside Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Defence Minister Marise Payne and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

Mr Turnbull’s foreign affairs advisor Greg Moriarty, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Martin Parkinson and DFAT secretary Frances Adamson were also at the table.

© AAP 2016

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