Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan had candid and friendly discussions with Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Song Tao and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi on 27 February 2017. They reaffirmed the "All-Round Cooperative Partnership Progressing with the Times", as agreed to by Prime Minister Lee HsienLoong and President Xi Jinping in November 2015.

Singapore and China continue to enjoy good and warm relations built up painstakingly over many decades. There is great potential to deepen and broaden our cooperation. The two Foreign Ministers discussed concrete ways to promote regional development and connectivity, including Singapore's support for China's "Belt and Road" initiative. Minister Balakrishnan encouraged Chinese companies to compete in the international tender conducted jointly by Malaysia and Singapore for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project.

Both China and Singapore are fully committed to free trade and the promotion of win-win outcomes through greater regional economic integration, including expediting the upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement which was one of the key deliverables of President Xi's State Visit to Singapore in 2015. They also expressed support for ongoing negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which is a pathway towards an eventual Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

Minister Balakrishnan and Minister Wang also exchanged views on ways to strengthen ASEAN-China relations. As Country Coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, Singapore has worked with ASEAN Member States and China on a forward-looking agenda, including the Joint Statement on the Application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea, and the Guidelines for Hotline Communications among Senior Officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of ASEAN Member States and China in Response to Maritime Emergencies. Minister Wang also affirmed China's commitment to working with ASEAN on a Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea, starting with establishing a COC framework by mid-2017.

At the meeting with Minister Song, Minister Balakrishnan noted the long-standing bilateral ties dating back to the time of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Deng Xiaoping, which laid the foundation for the special relationship that has developed since then. Minister Song acknowledged Singapore's role in supporting China's development since the early years, and discussed the progress of the three Government-to-Government projects, namely the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city and the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (Chongqing Connectivity Initiative). These projects were established to meet China's priorities at various stages of its development. Minister Song thanked Singapore for continuing to host study visits by Chinese officials and cadres. Both Ministers agreed to further strengthen cooperation on the "Belt and Road" initiative and the Party-to-Party links between the two sides.

Source: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SINGAPORE