Singapore, China reaffirm commitment to strengthen ASEAN-China defence cooperation

Singapore, China reaffirm commitment to strengthen ASEAN-China defence cooperation

Ng Eng Hen in China
Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (left) with Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe at the Bayi Building on Oct 24, 2018. (Photo: MINDEF)

BEIJING: Singapore and China on Wednesday (Oct 24) reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen defence cooperation between ASEAN and China, and this includes working towards the next edition of a joint maritime exercise.

The first such exercise kicked off on Monday in Zhanjiang city in China’s Guangdong province.

READ: ASEAN, China kick off first maritime exercise

The commitment was made as Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen met his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Beijing where a welcome ceremony was held at the military’s Bayi Building.

Having visited the site of the inaugural drills the day before, Dr Ng said ASEAN defence ministers agreed that holding the joint maritime exercise was “very good and important for ASEAN-China relations.”

Ng Eng Hen in China welcome ceremony
Singapore Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen reviewing the Guard of Honour at the Bayi Building in Beijing on Oct 24, 2018. (Photo: MINDEF)

On his part, Mr Wei, who is also state councillor, said he felt “great closeness” being able to meet Dr Ng twice in a week, following meetings with ASEAN defence ministers in Singapore.

He added that both sides reached consensus on regional and international affairs, and Dr Ng’s visit would help promote military-to-military exchanges between Singapore and China.

On the bilateral front, both sides also agreed to continue the exchange of high-level visits and discussed proposals to expand cooperation.

“China has always treated Singapore with respect and I thank the Chinese leaders for the good relations,” said Dr Ng.

Ng Eng Hen in China
Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen at a bilateral call with Chinese State Councilor Wei Fenghe at the Bayi Building in Beijing on Oct 24, 2018. (Photo: MINDEF)

In a media release on Wednesday, Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said that the leaders also look forward to holding a bilateral army exercise known as Exercise Cooperation next year.

“Dr Ng’s visit to China is testament to the strong defence ties between both countries,” said MINDEF, noting that both armed forces interact regularly through bilateral and multilateral exercises, high-level visits, professional exchanges, port calls, as well as the cross attendance of courses and seminars.

“These mutually beneficial interactions have enhanced the mutual understanding and camaraderie between the officers and men of the two militaries,” MINDEF added.

Dr Ng is on a five-day visit to China and will speak at a military forum - the 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum – on Thursday.

Having visited the site of the inaugural drills the day before, Dr Ng said ASEAN defence ministers agreed that holding the joint maritime exercise was “very good and important for ASEAN-China relations.” 

Editor’s Note: A quote from Minister Ng on the maritime exercise has been amended.

Source: CNA/gs

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