Channel NewsAsia: PM Lee says S’pore must study nuclear option

PM Lee has said that the government has not made a decision on nuclear energy, and underscored the importance of understanding the implications behind nuclear energy. Channel NewsAsia reports.

PM Lee says S’pore must study nuclear option

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong again stressed that Singapore has not made a decision on nuclear power but it is an option that must be studied.

He said this at a news conference on Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in Singapore for a two-day visit.

Germany had on Monday announced it would shut down its nuclear reactors by 2022.

It is Dr Merkel’s first visit to Singapore as German Chancellor.

Mr Lee also noted that she is his first foreign visitor after he was re-elected to Parliament, just as he was her first foreign guest when Dr Merkel became Chancellor in 2005.

Both leaders made clear that Singapore-German relationship is an important one for the two countries.

Singapore is Germany’s main trading partner in Southeast Asia, while German companies have long made their presence felt here, particularly in manufacturing.

Latest figures show that bilateral trade amounted to some S$20.5 billion in 2010.

Germany is also Singapore’s biggest trading partner among the EU countries.

Both leaders agreed over the hour-long discussion to increase cooperation in R&D and support for enterprises.

They also agreed on the importance of ASEAN and the EU ties.

Dr Merkel said: “Cooperation between the EU and ASEAN needs to be further enhanced, needs to be further developed to the benefit of both, because these are after all two economic regions that wield quite considerable economic clout, and therefore lend themselves ideally to co-operate even more in the future.”

What was not on the table was nuclear energy. He said Singapore is still exploring the option.

Prime Minister Lee said: “We need to understand it, because I think this is something which will not go away. And even if we don’t do nuclear energy, our neighbours will do nuclear energy, and we need to understand the implications for us.”

Asked about his choice for the post of IMF chief, Mr Lee said this would be decided on merit.

He said: “I would not say that I’m looking for an Asian candidate. I think we want to look for the best person who can do a very difficult job, which is crucial towards the stability of the global monetary system.”

Asked by German media about the significance of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s retirement from the Cabinet, Prime Minister Lee said that even when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was still in the Cabinet, decisions were already being made by PM Lee and the younger ministers. The senior Mr Lee would interject and express his views at times.

“What has happened is that now that he has retired, this has become more visible, and that’s all,” he said.

Dr Merkel also met President SR Nathan at the Istana, as well as Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

The German Chancellor was also hosted to a state dinner by Prime Minister Lee. Her visit ends on Thursday.

Image taken from stock.xchng


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