SINGAPORE: Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met with China Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday (11 Aug) who was on an official visit to Singapore.
Wang Yi, a Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, embarked on a four-day tour spanning Singapore, Malaysia, and Cambodia.
The visit encompassed comprehensive deliberations on a range of strategic concerns shared by both nations, reflecting their commitment to mutual cooperation.
This diplomatic tour follows Wang Yi’s recent reappointment as China’s Foreign Minister, a role he previously held from 2018 to 2022.
According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yi conveyed warm regards from Chinese leadership, underlining President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Lee’s joint announcement in March, elevating Sino-Singapore relations to a comprehensive, high-quality, forward-looking partnership.
This move is poised to initiate a new phase of high-level, mutually beneficial collaboration between the two countries.
Wang Yi expressed confidence in the strategic leadership of both nations’ leaders, anticipating that Sino-Singapore relations will continue to set the precedent for China’s interactions with neighboring countries.
Wang Yi’s tribute to Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy and Sino-Singapore relations
Highlighting the context of Singapore founder late Lee Kuan Yew’s centenary this year, Wang Yi emphasized Singapore’s distinctive journey of modernization through the lens of Eastern values.
In response, PM Lee requested Wang Yi to convey his sincere regards to the Chinese leadership.
He acknowledged the invaluable legacy left by the late Lee Kuan Yew, who, along with the elder generation of Chinese leaders, laid a solid foundation for the development of Sino-Singapore relations.
PM Lee affirmed that the wisdom imparted by Mr Lee will always be cherished, serving as a beacon to guide the perpetuation of the friendship between Singapore and China.
Reaffirming the commitment to advancing cooperation, PM Lee underlined a new era in bilateral relations between the two nations, particularly in the context of a world marked by volatility and the importance of major powers assuming leadership roles to foster mutual gain.
The Prime Minister expressed Singapore’s steadfast support for enhanced collaboration between ASEAN and China, aimed at maintaining regional tranquility and prosperity.
Wang Yi underscored China’s development path aligned with national circumstances and critiqued the U.S. for hindering emerging nations like China, endorsing “Taiwan independence,” and concurrently promoting protectionist measures. He contended that such actions erode global stability and undermine U.S. credibility.
Wang Yi and Minister Balakrishnan discuss air connectivity between China and Singapore
Earlier, Mr Wang met Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday (10 Aug), the two distinguished diplomats engaged in a discourse encompassing various aspects of bilateral interest.
Central to their talks was the shared commitment to fostering tourism, augmenting business interactions, and boosting air connectivity between the two nations.
Minister Balakrishnan elucidated the details of this exchange on his official Facebook page, underscoring their dedication to fortifying ties and cooperation.
He highlighted their productive conversation, citing the “All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented Partnership” that was unveiled during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to China in the preceding March.
“We also exchanged views on regional and international developments, including enhancing cooperation between ASEAN and China, ” Minister Balakrishnan said.
Minister Balakrishnan reiterated the close-knit nature of the relationship between Singapore and China, spanning various levels of interaction.
He emphasized the multitude of exchanges and engagements that have transpired between the two nations since the outset of 2023, spanning even the people-to-people level.
“These are important as we continue to deepen collaborations for mutual benefit. We will continue to explore ways to enhance our cooperation, including in areas such as connectivity, the digital economy and sustainable development.”
Mr Wang also held a separate meeting with Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong during his visit.
Wang Yi’s last visit to Singapore was in 2021, during which he held discussions with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Policy Coordination Heng Swee Keat, and had a meeting with Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
Following his stay in Singapore, Wang Yi will proceed to Malaysia and Cambodia, continuing his mission to cultivate strong ties and cooperation across the Southeast Asian region.