Vivian Balakrishnan meets Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Asean ministers

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) called on his Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on Aug 1, 2018.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) called on his Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on Aug 1, 2018.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on his Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday (Aug 1) , a day before his meeting with Asean foreign ministers.

The meeting in Singapore began with a warm hug between Dr Balakrishnan and Mr Wang. Dr Balakrishnan said in a Facebook post: "We reviewed the progress in Asean-China relations over the past three years and had good discussions on future areas of cooperation."

Earlier in the day, Mr Wang called on Tun Dr Mahathir in Putrajaya, the first visit by a top Chinese leader after Dr Mahathir became Prime Minister for a second time in May.

They discussed bilateral and regional issues as well as investment and transport at their meeting, which lasted 1 1/2 hours, Bernama news agency reported.

Meanwhile, at the Singapore Expo, Asean foreign ministers met representatives from the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) over lunch and attended a meeting of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Commission.

Dr Balakrishnan met Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at separate trilateral meetings involving the Asean Secretariat.

He also met Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship Jorge Faurie, and they agreed to deepen growing economic ties.

In the evening, Dr Balakrishnan hosted his Asean counterparts to a working dinner at the Asian Civilisations Museum, whose collection, he said on Facebook, highlights the centrality of two themes for Singapore and the region: trade and faith.

"The former is a reflection of how our Asean region has always been shaped and defined by its openness and exchanges with other regions of the world. The latter is a reminder of our multi-religious, multiracial country and region, which has been greatly enriched by its unity in diversity," he said.