Vivian, Wang Yi discuss S’pore and China speeding up recovery in air travel

The full resumption of air connectivity and enhancement of business and people flows were key priorities during the discussion.

Hariz Baharudin

Hariz Baharudin

The Straits Times


Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi affirmed the strong relationship between the two nations. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

July 13, 2023

JAKARTA – Singapore and China will continue to accelerate post-pandemic recovery, focusing on areas such as air travel and business.

Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan met China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Wednesday, where they affirmed the strong relationship between the two nations, following the recent upgrade to an “All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented Partnership”, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The leaders were meeting on the sidelines of the 56th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta.

“Minister Balakrishnan and Director Wang discussed how Singapore and China can accelerate post-pandemic recovery. The full resumption of air connectivity and enhancement of business and people flows were key priorities,” said the MFA.

“They looked forward to a substantive 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting, co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong and Vice-Premier of the State Council Ding Xuexiang, later this year.”

In his opening remarks, Dr Balakrishnan said the meeting was between “old friends” and that Singapore has long supported the development of Asean-China relations.

“Today is also a good opportunity. We are old friends and see each other often, I would be keen to hear your views on current developments, and also your aspirations on strengthening bilateral ties,” he told Mr Wang.

The MFA said that Dr Balakrishnan and Mr Wang had a wide-ranging exchange of views on regional and international developments, and reiterated their commitment to strengthening the Asean-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“They reviewed the good progress in bilateral cooperation, including in the three government-to-government projects in Suzhou, Tianjin, and Chongqing, as well as the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City,” said the MFA. “The Tianjin Eco-City will commemorate its 15th anniversary this year, while the Suzhou Industrial Park will mark its 30th anniversary next year.”

From Thursday, Asean foreign ministers will meet Mr Wang at the Asean-China Post-Ministerial Conference and at the Asean Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which includes their counterparts from Japan and South Korea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are among the foreign leaders expected to be in Jakarta.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Dr Balakrishnan said that projects between Singapore and China are doing well. “We will continue to explore cooperation in new areas, including the green and digital economies.”

Dr Balakrishnan also met the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud. He noted that Asean had on Wednesday welcomed Saudi Arabia’s accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South-east Asia (TAC).

The TAC is an Asean peace treaty, and is a prerequisite for more formal partnerships with the regional bloc.

“Prince Faisal and I had a good exchange on developments in our respective regions, and discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between Singapore and Saudi Arabia,” said Dr Balakrishnan.

In a meeting with New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, Dr Balakrishnan said she shared that South-east Asia is an area of huge opportunities for her country.

“We had a good discussion on deepening bilateral cooperation, including in traditional sectors and emerging areas such as climate change and the green economy,” he added.

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