SINGAPORE - Singapore and China are very different in size but face common challenges.
These include an ageing population, slowing workforce growth, a better educated younger generation who have higher expectations for career and family, and the impact of technology on society and work, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday (May 16).
In the search for solutions, government officials from both countries came together to share ideas and experiences at a two-day forum which ends on Wednesday.
Central to the discussion was how governments must be innovative in developing leaders and policies so that countries can find new ways forward, the theme of the 6th Singapore-China Forum on Leadership.
In their keynote addresses, Mr Teo, who is Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service, and China's Central Organisation Department Minister Zhao Leji spoke about the friendship the two countries share, and stressed the importance of leadership development.
Mr Teo said: "The ability to have deep, wide-ranging and substantive discussions on such issues of national interest reflects the high degree of mutual trust between Singapore and China, as well as the depth, breadth and strength of our bilateral ties."
Similarly, Mr Zhao spoke about the longstanding friendship between both countries, and noted that China and Singapore share a consensus on the development of human resources.
"We are in a volatile time and the world is undergoing rapid changes, (and) neighbours wish each other well, just as loved ones do to each other," he said.
In their speeches, both leaders outlined how their countries are seeking innovative ways in developing its people in preparation for the future.
Mr Teo said Singapore has broadened the concept of meritocracy to help people learn and achieve throughout their life so they can be prepared for new jobs and industries.
He added that Singapore is also systematically deepening and broadening the experience of a younger generation of political leaders.
"We will need leaders at all levels, in the political arena and public administration, in the private and people sectors. Leaders who have the moral courage and integrity to do what is right, and not just what is popular or populist," he told some 120 government officials from Singapore and China.
Mr Zhao said China sees the development of human resources as the foundation of innovation, and has worked to help its people realise their full potential.
"Innovation as the driver of development actually boils down to human resources as the driver of growth," he said in his keynote address.
Both leaders also spoke about how their governments are innovating in other ways, such as in formulating and implementing policies, to prepare for the challenges brought about by a more volatile global environment.