SINGAPORE: Singapore and China will hold a joint military exercise this week, their first combined drills since 2021.
The exercise will be held from Apr 28 to May 1, said Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on Monday (Apr 24).
"The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) conducts regular bilateral and multilateral exercises with foreign navies as part of its ongoing effort to enhance mutual trust and cooperation with other countries," MINDEF said in response to media queries.
The exercise, which will comprise both shore and sea phases, will involve the RSN's Formidable-class frigate RSS Intrepid and Bedok-class Mine Countermeasure Vessel RSS Punggol, said MINDEF.
The Chinese navy will deploy a missile-bearing frigate, the Yulin, and a mine-hunting ship, the Chibi, China's defence ministry said in a statement on its website, without specifying the location.
"The exercise underscores the warm and friendly bilateral defence relations between Singapore and China, and enhances mutual trust, understanding and people-to-people ties between the SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) and PLA (People's Liberation Army)," MINDEF said.
"Besides bilateral exercises, the two armed forces also interact regularly through high-level exchanges, mutual visits, cross-attendance of courses and port calls."
Two years ago, China and Singapore held a combined military drill in international waters at the southern tip of the South China Sea, following the upgrade of a bilateral defence pact in 2019 to include bigger-scale exercises among their army, navy and air force.
Singapore regularly conducts drills with countries from the region and around the world. In March, the SAF wrapped up the massive Cobra Gold exercises in Thailand. It is one of the largest multinational exercises in the Asia-Pacific region.