SINGAPORE: Singapore and China expressed concern over the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed to strengthen bilateral, regional and global cooperation to address it during the virtual Singapore-China Joint Meeting on COVID-19 held on Wednesday (Apr 1).
The meeting, co-chaired by the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and Chinese vice-foreign minister Luo Zhaohui, was attended by representatives from both sides covering education, trade and industry, customs and immigration, transport, health and manpower, according to a joint press statement.
During the meeting, the Chinese side briefed on its progress with the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak as well as the economic and social development in China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.
READ: China reports 1,300 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in first release of such data
China also "expressed gratitude for the Singaporean side for its support and assistance", according to the statement.
Meanwhile, the Singaporean side outlined efforts it has made to prevent, contain and control the outbreak.
"Both sides were confident in their respective abilities to fight and overcome the long-term threat of COVID-19", added the statement.
SHARING GOOD PRACTICES, RESEARCH
The two sides also exchanged views on the control and treatment measures taken to combat the spread of the virus. They agreed to share diagnostic and treatment good practices, and explore joint research and development of medicines and vaccines. They also agreed on the importance of sustainable measures to manage public health risks, while gradually restoring normalcy to people-to-people interaction and economic exchanges.
The two sides agreed as well to "provide facilitation and support, as appropriate, to the nationals residing in each other's country on their medical treatment and stay", according to the joint statement.
READ: Number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore reach 1,000; old age home among 2 new clusters identified
MAINTAINING FLOW OF GOODS
Both sides also agreed to, while continuing to safeguard public health, discuss the provision of convenient access to the flow of necessary personnel, maintain smooth and open air and sea freight lines, ensure free trade flows and facilitate the flow of goods, including essential medical supplies and food, as well as ensure the integrity of supply chains.
The two sides highlighted the importance of maintaining good progress in their three Government-to-Government projects, as well as further deepen cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.
Both sides agreed to further strengthen trade connectivity between Western China and Southeast China, through the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative-New International Land Sea Trade Corridor.
According to the joint statement, representatives from both countries spoke highly of the ASEAN-China Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19 and the related medical experts' video conference, and agreed to support a meeting at a larger scale and higher level so as to "strengthen the regional capacity to address public health emergencies, mitigate economic and financial risks, and maintain regional stability and development".
"Both sides agreed that COVID-19 is a global public health emergency that does not respect nationality, race or borders. Both sides called on countries around the world to work together to address this transboundary threat for the protection and well-being of our peoples," the statement read.