Singapore, China to work together to ensure smooth economic recovery

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) greeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at Changi Airport yesterday with an elbow bump. Mr Wang was on a transit stop during his official tour of Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand.
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) greeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at Changi Airport yesterday with an elbow bump. Mr Wang was on a transit stop during his official tour of Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Dr Balakrishnan and Mr Wang reaffirmed both countries’ strong bilateral ties and also discussed regional and international developments.
Dr Balakrishnan and Mr Wang reaffirmed both countries’ strong bilateral ties and also discussed regional and international developments.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Singapore and China have committed to working together to ensure a smooth economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic, and for the two countries to collaborate on Covid-19-related medicine.

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at Changi Airport yesterday, said that both countries are working towards the safe resumption of international travel.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement following the meeting that the two foreign ministers reaffirmed the excellent relationship between Singapore and China.

In a post on Facebook after the meeting, Dr Balakrishnan lauded the strong bilateral cooperation between the two countries throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that Singapore and China had marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations on Oct 3.

"We committed mutual support for economic recovery, including cooperation in Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics," he said.

The two ministers also discussed regional and international developments, said Dr Balakrishnan.

"We agreed that the pandemic is a common challenge that the international community needs to overcome together, including by maintaining supply chain connectivity and upholding the rules-based multilateral trading system," he said.

Mr Wang arrived at Changi Airport yesterday on a transit stop in his official tour of four Asean countries - Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand.

The visits began on Sunday and will end tomorrow.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying told a press briefing in Beijing last Friday that the visits are aimed at further deepening China-Asean cooperation and consolidating mutual trust.

"China and Asean countries are friendly neighbours and important partners under the Belt and Road Initiative, and the two sides helped each other combat the coronavirus," she said.

She also added that their economies are now recovering from the pandemic.

Mr Wang was in Singapore after his visit to Malaysia, and will be travelling to Laos and Thailand.

He and Dr Balakrishnan have been in contact during the pandemic, including having a phone call about the two countries' respective virus situation in March.

Ms Hua also noted that China's trade with Asean grew 3.8 per cent in the first eight months of this year, and that the bloc has become China's largest trading partner for the first time.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2020, with the headline 'Singapore, China to work together to ensure smooth economic recovery'. Subscribe