MANILA - Singaporean President Halimah Yacob has invited presumptive Philippine President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to make a state visit to "strengthen the friendship between our two countries."
"I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to make a State Visit to Singapore," Yacob said in a May 14, 2022 letter posted Wednesday on the website of Singapore's Foreign Ministry, as she also congratulated Marcos on his electoral success.
"I wish you every success in steering the Philippines to greater heights," she said.
"Singapore and the Philippines share a warm and longstanding relationship, underpinned by strong economic cooperation and robust people-to-people ties," Yacob said.
Yacob made a state visit to the Philippines in September 2019, which the Singaporean leader described as a "warm and gracious hospitality."
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also congratulated Marcos in a separate letter, saying the former senator's "victory shows the people’s strong support in your leadership and vision for the country."
In a letter also dated May 14, Lee reminded Marcos of Singapore and the Philippines' "deep and longstanding" partnership "with close cooperation across many domains, including labour, trade and defense."
"As fellow founding members of ASEAN, we share a similar outlook on key regional and global developments, and work closely to promote regional peace and prosperity," Lee said.
"I look forward to continuing our close cooperation for the benefit of our countries, peoples and the region."
"I wish you every success. I look forward to meeting you soon," the son of the late Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew told the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Singapore is among Southeast Asian nations calling for the rule of law in the South China Sea, within which is the West Philippine Sea, amid Chinese incursions.
While Singapore is not a claimant country in the disputed waters, the nation - a key power in the region - has urged all parties to respect "legal and diplomatic processes."
Marcos earlier said he would continue to pursue an independent foreign policy.
In a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, Marcos said China and the Philippines "must not allow what conflicts or difficulties we have now between our two countries to become historically important."
- with a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News