27 February 2012
The Chief of Defence Force Singapore Armed Forces Lieutenant General Neo Kian Hong will be accorded military honours and a powhiri when he visits New Zealand for the first time next week.
New Zealand Defence Force will provide a 50-person tri-Service Guard of Honour for the official welcome ceremony for LTGEN Neo which will be held at the National War Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, Buckle Street, Wellington on Tuesday 28 February from 3.40pm.
The welcome will be followed by a wreath-laying ceremony in the Hall of Memories at the National War Memorial.
While in New Zealand LTGEN Neo will meet with the Minister of Defence Jonathan Coleman, and high ranking Defence personnel including the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones and the Secretary of Defence John McKinnon. LTGEN Neo will also visit the RNZAF base at Ohakea and Devonport Naval Base.
LTGEN Neo has led a distinguished career in the Singapore Armed Forces, spanning 27 years. From 2001 to 2003 LTGEN Neo was Assistant Chief of General Staff (Operations) and was responsible for establishing enhanced security measures to safeguard Singapore after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. In 2003 he was seconded to the Ministry of Health as Director of Operations and working to contain the outbreak of SARS in Singapore.
New Zealand has a long standing defence link with Singapore. Arrangements for training assistance and other cooperation were formalised in a bilateral agreement concluded between the two Governments in 1971 in parallel with the establishment of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), a joint defence arrangement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
New Zealand takes part in many bilateral and multilateral naval, air and army exercises with Singapore. In terms of overall activity, Singapore is New Zealand’s largest defence partner in the Asia-Pacific region after Australia.
Singaporean forces have operated with the New Zealand Defence Force in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste.
In February 2011, SAF troops exercising in the South Island took part in search and rescue efforts in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, symbolising excellent bilateral ties.
For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group, 021 569 130