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China, Singapore share broad consensus on regional issues: Shanmugam

Foreign Minister K Shanmugam says the "common view" is for no issue to dominate the agenda between the both countries and ASEAN.

SINGAPORE: China and Singapore have “broad consensus” on how the two countries should move forward with regional issues and hotspots, Foreign Minister K Shanmugam said on Thursday (June 12).

“Our common view is that no one issue should dominate the agenda between China and Singapore or ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” Mr Shanmugam said during his official visit to China. It comes as Beijing grapples with a long-running territorial row in the South China Sea with several South-East Asian countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines

Mr Shanmugam met China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on the first day of his three-day visit, and the two leaders spoke to reporters after a small-group meeting that lasted over an hour. Mr Shanmugam said they had “excellent discussions” that were wide-ranging, frank, and candid.

Describing the meeting as a chat “between friends”, Mr Wang said relations between China and Singapore were healthy and communication channels were smooth.

“China is willing, together with Singapore and ASEAN countries, to continue to strengthen our friendly relations,” he said. “We must also continue to maintain peace and stability in our region, including the South China Sea. We are completely confident we'll be able to do this. In the process, we hope and believe Singapore will continue to play an important role."

Economic ties between the two countries are at a high. Singapore was the top foreign investor in China in 2013, and China was also Singapore's biggest trade partner.

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