Chinese Defence Minister calls on Lee Hsien Loong at Istana

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana yesterday. They affirmed the longstanding, warm and friendly bilateral relations between Singapore and China, which have progressed steadily over the years, said
Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana yesterday. They affirmed the longstanding, warm and friendly bilateral relations between Singapore and China, which have progressed steadily over the years, said the Ministry of Defence. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

China's Defence Minister Wei Fenghe called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana yesterday as part of his introductory visit to Singapore.

They affirmed the longstanding, warm and friendly bilateral relations between Singapore and China, which have progressed steadily over the years, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

They also discussed various aspects of defence cooperation, exchanging views on regional security and underscoring the importance of deepening cooperation and building mutual trust among countries.

Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How also attended the meeting.

General Wei also visited RSS Singapura-Changi Naval Base, where he was briefed on the operations of the Republic of Singapore Navy's Information Fusion Centre and its contribution to maritime security.

The Information Fusion Centre is a regional maritime security centre hosted by the Singapore navy that facilitates information sharing and collaboration between countries.

He also went on board the Archer-class submarine RSS Swordsman and the Formidable-class frigate RSS Stalwart.

 
 

Based on public records, the last time a foreign dignitary visited a Singapore navy submarine was in 2005, by Brunei Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah.

The Chinese minister, who is also state councillor, will attend the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue, held from today to Sunday at the Shangri-La Hotel. He is expected to speak on China and international security cooperation on Sunday and will take questions after his address.

PM Lee will deliver the keynote speech today at the opening of the annual high-level security forum.

During his time in Singapore, Gen Wei will also meet Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, and be hosted to dinner by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.

On Wednesday, Gen Wei met his Singapore counterpart Ng Eng Hen, and they agreed on a substantial programme to deepen defence ties and step up bilateral engagements on various fronts.

Both sides agreed to revise a defence pact first signed in 2008, which could include larger-scale military exercises and frequent high-level dialogues.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2019, with the headline 'Chinese Defence Minister calls on PM Lee at Istana'. Print Edition | Subscribe