singapore’s long-term view on china ties

SINGAPORE: On Jan 22, Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing shared insights into Singapore’s long-term view on China ties, acknowledging the inevitable “ups and downs” that come with a long-term trajectory, The Edge Singapore reports.

Speaking at an event organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), Mr Chan highlighted the substantial momentum generated by China’s population and economy. Despite the challenges, he pointed out that a 4% to 5% growth rate for a country of China’s magnitude is respectable.

He stated, “When the Chinese say that they are growing at 4% to 5%, people think that is a disaster. Yes, there are obvious challenges for the Chinese economy, because there’s a large number of young people coming through the system that need to find work, housing and so forth. But on the other hand, 4% to 5% growth for such a big economy is still quite respectable.”

During his visit to China in September 2023, Mr Chan co-chaired the 9th Singapore-China Forum on Leadership with Li Ganjie, Organisation Department Minister of the Communist Party of China.

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The outcome was a joint statement, upgrading the bilateral relationship to an “all-round high-quality future-oriented partnership.”

Mr Chan, a former Minister for Trade and Industry, expressed confidence in the untapped potential within the Chinese economy.

He said, “We will see beyond the here and now and ask ourselves that in the next phase of China’s development, how can Singapore be a value-add, [a] partner to the relationship? That has always been the stance that we have taken over all these years.”

The Minister reminisced about Singapore’s historical support for China, citing the early 1990s when Singapore advocated for China’s integration into the global economy, supporting its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

He also highlighted recent collaborations, such as the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city project in the 2000s and the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative (CCI) in the 2010s.

According to Mr Chan, numerous collaboration opportunities arise as China’s enterprises seek global expansion. He urged Singaporean enterprises and students to explore beyond the well-established first-tier cities.

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Turning attention to less developed areas in China, away from the bustling coastal provinces, Chan underscored the potential for Singapore’s involvement. He encouraged Singaporean enterprises and students to venture beyond the familiar terrain of first-tier cities.

On a forward-looking note, Chan expressed hope for collaboration in China’s evolving wealth management sector. He noted that the Chinese financial system is entering a new phase of development, saying,

“There will be challenges, but equally, there will be opportunities for us to see how we can work with each other.” /TISG