Singapore Chief of Defence Force reaffirms defence ties with China

SINGAPORE - Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Ng Chee Meng is conducting his introductory visit to China from April 13 to 18, at the invitation of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chief of General Staff Fang Fenghui, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said in a press release on Tuesday.

Lt-Gen Ng and Gen Fang, also a member of China's Central Military Commission, exchanged views on the regional security situation and the state of bilateral defence cooperation, according to Mindef.

Both sides agreed to deepen their defence relationship and expand interactions with each other under a four-point consensus reached last year during Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen's visit to China.

Lt-Gen Ng on Tuesday also called on China's Defence Minister Chang Wanquan. They reaffirmed the excellent state of bilateral relations and noted the good progress made in military cooperation.

Gen Chang expressed support for enhancing bilateral defence ties particularly as both countries commemorate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-Singapore diplomatic relations this year, according to the press release.

Lt-Gen Ng is scheduled to visit the 24th Air Division, PLA Air Force and 196th Infantry Brigade, Beijing Military Command. He will also make a cultural trip to Xian before visiting Shanghai, where he is scheduled to visit the Shanghai Naval Garrison and meet Shanghai Garrison Political Commissar Major-General Ma Jiali, said the press release.

Lt-Gen Ng's visit underscores the warm and growing ties between both countries and is the latest in a regular exchange of high-level bilateral and defence visits, Mindef said.

The visit also coincides with a study trip to China by 19 officers from the Singapore Armed Forces. Led by Chief of Staff, Joint Staff Brigadier-General Chia Choon Hoong, the delegation visited several PLA military units and sites of cultural significance during their week-long visit to China from 12 to 19 April 2015. Both militaries also interact frequently through regular exercises, cross-attendance of courses and port calls.