Singapore-China ties upgraded to ‘All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented’ partnership



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Singapore and China have upgraded their bilateral ties to an “All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented” partnership, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who concluded his six-day visit to China on Saturday, April 1. The upgraded relationship is expected to create more opportunities for both countries to do business, especially in areas like digital, green economy, financial markets, and food security.

During his trip, PM Lee met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other high-ranking Chinese officials, where they witnessed the signing of seven memorandums of understanding on food security, technological research, and environmental conservation.

The PM said that China has emerged strongly from the pandemic and is moving forward, looking to re-establish links with the rest of the world. He noted that while Singapore already has good relations with China, the country must keep working at it, and the upgraded ties will bring business opportunities for both countries.

Singapore and China have previously collaborated in financial services, attracting more financial businesses, investments, and activities, and now Singapore is considering using the digital Chinese yuan. PM Lee also spoke about the possibility of Singapore’s Singapore Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange having a “link-up” that would allow people to trade in the Chinese market from Singapore, which would bring more firms to Singapore and contribute to “peace and stability, development and prosperity in the region and beyond.”

The upgraded partnership signifies both countries’ “ongoing commitment and willingness to build a win-win bilateral relationship,” said Dr. Benjamin Ho, an assistant professor for the China Programme at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies. The partnership is different from Singapore’s strategic partnerships with other countries like the US and Australia, as it does not involve security or defence arrangements.

The new arrangements do not change anything, and the agreements focus on more basic and practical issues, said Associate Professor Chong Ja Ian, a political scientist from the National University of Singapore. While the partnerships may be part of Beijing’s effort to break out of what State Chairman Xi Jinping described as “containment” and “encirclement” by the United States, they also underscore Singapore’s continued ability to work with China despite tenser China ties with major powers like the US and Europe, said Assoc Prof Chong.

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