High hopes for S'pore-China ties

I am saddened by the seizure of our Singapore Armed Forces vehicles in Hong Kong ("Seizure of SAF vehicles not a strategic issue, says Vivian" and "S'pore won't let any one issue hijack ties with China: Vivian"; both published on Nov 30).

Long before Singapore established formal diplomatic relations with China in 1990, it was already enjoying close economic and political ties with China, albeit on an informal basis.

Both sides had been exchanging regular official visits since then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's maiden trip to China in May 1976 and then Chinese Senior Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping's visit to Singapore in November 1978.

China's economic ties with Singapore have always been governed by pragmatism. Trade between Singapore and China did not stop even at the height of the Cold War.

Trade representative offices were set up in 1981 to strengthen economic links between both countries.

China was Singapore's largest trade partner in 2014 and Singapore became China's largest foreign investor for the first time in 2013.

Singapore firms have multiple joint development projects with China, and there are three government-to-government projects in China ("Chongqing picked for 3rd govt-to-govt project"; Nov 7, 2015).

I hope that the saga over the SAF vehicle seizure will end soon, and that the relationship between Singapore and China can scale to even greater heights.

I have confidence that the Singapore Government will be able to iron out the issues in no time.

V. Balu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2016, with the headline 'High hopes for S'pore-China ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe