China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation slated for next month

Permanent Secretary (Foreign Affairs) Chee Wee Kiong (left) met Vice Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Liu Zhenmin on Jan 17, 2017. PHOTO: MFA

SINGAPORE - The Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) - the highest-level forum between China and Singapore - will be held next month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday (Jan 17).

The JCBC is the top bilateral body that meets yearly to deepen political ties and economic cooperation between both countries. It is co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

The MFA said on its website that its permanent secretary Chee Wee Kiong and China's Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin met on Tuesday, and discussed upcoming bilateral exchanges, including the JCBC and the China-Singapore Forum on Leadership.

Mr Liu was in Singapore for the 10th Bilateral Consultations between the foreign ministries of both countries, which he co-chaired with Mr Chee.

The consultations, started in 1996, are a platform for the two foreign ministries to discuss bilateral cooperation, Asean-China cooperation, and exchange views on key regional and global developments.

Mr Chee and Mr Liu also reviewed the longstanding and multi-faceted cooperation between Singapore and China, the MFA said.

They noted that both sides maintained high-level exchanges in 2016, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's meetings with President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, and with Premier Li Keqiang at the Asean Summit in Vientiane.

Mr Chee and Mr Liu also reviewed the good progress of the three government-to-government projects including the latest Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, which was launched in November 2015 and aims to turn the Chinese city of Chongqing into a logistics and services hub.

Mr Chee expressed Singapore's support for the Belt and Road initiative, a new area of collaboration which would build upon the countries' substantive bilateral ties.

They also discussed how to strengthen Asean-China relations and connectivity, as well as how tourism authorities from both countries can collaborate to promote tourism between Asean and China.

Singapore's bilateral relations with China came under scrutiny after Hong Kong customs seized nine of the Singapore Armed Forces' Terrex armoured vehicles on Nov 23.

The Hong Kong government has said it would deal with the matter according to its laws.

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