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S’pore, China officials discuss cooperation amid pandemic, East Asia News & Top Stories

Top foreign ministry officials from China and Singapore made a commitment at a “virtual meeting” yesterday to keep their borders open to ensure the smooth movement of essential goods and personnel, while safeguarding public health, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Education, trade and industry, customs and immigration, transport, health, and manpower officials also attended the meeting, which was co-chaired by the Permanent Secretary of Singapore’s foreign ministry, Mr Chee Wee Kiong, and Vice-Minister Luo Zhaohui from China’s foreign ministry.

“Both sides 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,” according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement.

Singapore and China will also share diagnostic and treatment good practices for Covid-19, and explore joint research and development of medicines and vaccines against the coronavirus.

The statement said the two sides also exchanged views on the impact of Covid-19 at the regional level and agreed to explore ways to provide support where necessary to regional countries on epidemic prevention and control.

They agreed on the importance of resuming production and trade flows.

China and Singapore also agreed to support a meeting on a larger scale and at a higher level to “strengthen the regional capacity to address public health emergencies, mitigate economic and financial risks, and maintain regional stability and development”.

During yesterday’s virtual meeting, senior officials also committed to maintaining progress in “priority cooperation projects”, and to deepen cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Both sides agreed to further strengthen trade connectivity between western China and South-east Asia, through the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.”

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and China’s Vice-Premier Han Zheng had previously agreed to discuss cooperation on the management of public health crises at the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC).

Singapore and China mark 30 years of diplomatic relations this year. The Republic is slated to host the next JCBC.

Singapore and China will also share diagnostic and treatment good practices for Covid-19, and explore joint research and development of medicines and vaccines against the coronavirus.

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