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Singapore and China’s Foreign Ministries hold first bilateral consultation after detention of Terrexes

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a press release that the Vice Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Liu Zhenmin visited Singapore today (17 Jan) to co-chair the 10th Bilateral Consultations between the Singapore and Chinese Foreign Ministries.

MFA said that the Consultations, started in 1996, are a useful platform for the two Foreign Ministries to discuss bilateral cooperation, ASEAN-China cooperation and exchange views on key regional and global developments.

Singapore’s Permanent Secretary (PS) for Foreign Affairs, Chee Wee Kiong, reviewed the longstanding and multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries with Mr Liu.

The representatives of both countries noted that high-level exchanges were maintained between the two sides in 2016 including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s meetings with President Xi Jinping (at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou) and Premier Li Keqiang (at the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane).  They also reviewed the good progress of the three Government-to-Government projects between the two sides, including the latest Chongqing Connectivity Initiative.

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Permanent Secretary (Foreign Affairs) Chee Wee Kiong and Vice Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Liu Zhenmin tossing a prosperity salad (yusheng) at lunch, 17 January 2017. Vice Foreign Minister Liu is in Singapore for the 10th Bilateral Consultations between the Singapore and Chinese Foreign Ministries. [Photo: MFA]
The press release did not mention if the representatives discussed the 9 Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICV) which are detained by Hong Kong’s Customs & Excise Department.

It however confirmed that the high level Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) will be held next month. JCBC is co-chaired by DPM Teo Chee Hean and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli – the highest-ranking Vice Premier in China’s State Council and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) of the Chinese Communist Party (the top leadership body in China). Launched in November 2003 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the JCBC is the highest-level institutional mechanism for bilateral cooperation.

At the meeting Mr Chee also expressed Singapore’s support for China’s “Belt and Road” initiative. MFA described the initiative as “a new area of collaboration which would further build upon Singapore and China’s substantive bilateral ties.”

The representatives of the two countries also discussed strengthening ASEAN-China relations and connectivity, including synergies between the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and the “Belt and Road” initiative.

They also agreed to implement the ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation in 2017, they requested the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and China National Tourist Administration (CNTA) to collaborate and discuss concrete plans to promote tourism between ASEAN and China.

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