Ahead of his meeting with Asean foreign ministers today, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday called on his Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
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 the Malaysian assumed the post of Prime Minister in May for a second time. They discussed bilateral and regional issues as well as investment and transportation at their meeting, which lasted for 11/2 hours, the Bernama news agency reported.
At the Singapore Expo, Asean foreign ministers met representatives from the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights over lunch and attended a meeting of the South-east Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone 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 Argentinian 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.