Ng Eng Hen, China's No. 2 defence chief discuss deepening ties

Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen meeting General Xu Qiliang, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, in Beijing yesterday. They discussed deepening military cooperation.
Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen meeting General Xu Qiliang, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, in Beijing yesterday. They discussed deepening military cooperation.PHOTO: NG ENG HEN/FACEBOOK

BEIJING • Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen met China's No. 2 defence official yesterday.

Dr Ng called on General Xu Qiliang, vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), at the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Bayi Building in Beijing, where both men discussed deepening military cooperation.

"It was an entirely fulfilling exchange," said Dr Ng in a Facebook post after the meeting.

The seven-member CMC, which is headed by President Xi Jinping, is the top body overseeing the PLA.

Gen Xu is one of two vice-chairmen of the CMC, with the other being General Zhang Youxia. Gen Xu ranks second in the military hierarchy, behind Mr Xi and ahead of Defence Minister Wei Fenghe.

In his post, Dr Ng said Gen Xu had called for a stepping up and deepening of military engagements across all services of the PLA and the Singapore Armed Forces.

"I responded that this was indeed what State Councillor and Minister of National Defence General Wei Fenghe and I had agreed to do - to build strategic trust," said Dr Ng.

 
 
 

He had met Gen Wei in Beijing on Wednesday. On Thursday, Dr Ng attended the Xiangshan Forum, a security conference, where he delivered a speech at a session on international security governance.

His five-day trip included a visit to Zhanjiang in Guangdong to survey the Asean-China Maritime Exercise, a joint drill organised by Singapore and China involving more than 1,000 personnel from all 10 Asean nations and China.

"It has been a productive trip that I hope will further strengthen Singapore's military cooperation with China," wrote Dr Ng.

The minister left China for Singapore yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2018, with the headline 'Ng Eng Hen, China's No. 2 defence chief discuss deepening ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe