Singapore's PM gives praise to welcoming Rockhampton locals

THE Prime Minister of Singapore wanted the local community in Rockhampton to know his country deeply appreciates the generous welcome the town continues to show troops in operations at Shoalwater Bay.

A day after visiting more than 4600 Singaporean troops at the Australian Defence training ground, Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong spoke to reporters in Canberra.

"I spent yesterday at the Shoalwater Bay training area near Rockhampton to watch our annual SAF training exercise, a live-firing exercise called Exercise Wallaby," PM Lee said.

"We deeply appreciate Australia's strong support for our armed forces to train here and we wish to thank both the Australian government as well as the local communities for welcoming us so generously."

Mr Lee said the relationship between the two countries was not just about defence, but also education, trade, tourism and culture.

He joined Prime Minister Julia Gillard in celebrating the relationship between the two countries, calling Australia a "trusted friend" of Singapore.

Mr Lee also backed Australia's current bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.