Singapore and China agree to expand military relations

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (second from left) meeting with Political Commissar People’s Liberation Army National Defense University (PLA NDU), General (GEN) Liu Yazhou. Singapore and China have agreed to expand their military ties, aft
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (second from left) meeting with Political Commissar People’s Liberation Army National Defense University (PLA NDU), General (GEN) Liu Yazhou. Singapore and China have agreed to expand their military ties, after defence ministers from both countries met on Friday. -- PHOTO: MINDEF

BEIJING - Singapore and China have agreed to expand their military ties, after defence ministers from both countries met on Friday.

Both sides will increase the scope and frequency of joint war drills, and widen the training scenarios. Specifically, soldiers and sailors from both sides will work more closely together in joint war games that can happen as often as every year.

Visiting Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan agreed that the two countries will broaden their bilateral cooperation, after both men met here on Friday.

In a joint press release issued after their hour-long meeting, China and Singapore reached a four-point consensus to deepen mutual understanding and trust through practical cooperation and face-to-face interactions.

Both militaries also agreed to work together and consult each other on counter-terrorism issues and identify new areas of cooperation, such as information sharing.

The new move will boost Sino-Singapore military ties, which have grown over the years since the People's Liberation Army and the Singapore Armed Forces inked an agreement to formalise bilateral defence activities in 2008.

Under the expanded military cooperation, the joint army exercise, codenamed Cooperation, will become more regular and will also put more men and machines through more mock war scenarios, such as urban warfare and live-firing drills.

Both navies will also expand their interactions through more regular joint training and in specialised fields. The statement, however, did not elaborate further.

The agreement to boost military ties comes ahead of next year when Singapore and China celebrates 25 years of diplomatic relations, which has largely been economic in nature. Both sides have launched joint government projects like the Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-City.