Top Singapore-China forum slated for February

The Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) - the highest- level forum between China and Singapore - will be held next month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The JCBC is the top bilateral body that meets yearly to deepen political ties and economic co-operation between both countries.

It is co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli.

MFA said on its website that Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and China's Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin yesterday discussed upcoming bilateral exchanges, including the JCBC and the China-Singapore Forum on Leadership.

Mr Liu was here for the 10th Bilateral Consultations between the foreign ministries of both countries, which he co-chaired with Mr Chee.

The consultations, started in 1996, are a platform for both foreign ministries to discuss bilateral co-operation, ASEAN-China co-operation, and to exchange views on key regional and global developments.

Mr Chee and Mr Liu also reviewed the "longstanding and multi-faceted co-operation" between Singapore and China, MFA said.

They noted that both sides maintained high-level exchanges last year, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's meetings with President Xi Jinping at the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, and with Premier Li Keqiang at the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane.

Mr Chee and Mr Liu also reviewed the good progress of the three government-to-government projects, including the latest Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, which aims to turn the Chinese city into a logistics and services hub.

Mr Chee expressed Singapore's support for China's "Belt and Road" initiative, a new area of collaboration which MFA said would build upon the countries' substantive bilateral ties.

The senior diplomats also discussed how to strengthen ASEAN- China relations and connectivity, as well as how the tourism authorities from both sides can promote tourism between ASEAN and China.

In recent times, Singapore's bilateral ties with China have come under the spotlight after Hong Kong Customs seized nine of the Singapore Armed Forces' Terrex armoured vehicles on Nov 23. Hong Kong has said it would handle the matter according to its laws.

This article was first published on January 18, 2017.
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