Singapore, China Plan Security Cooperation
By WENDELL MINNICK, TAIPEI
Singapore and China signed an agreement on defense exchanges and security cooperation Jan. 7 at the inaugural China-Singapore Defense Policy Dialogue in Beijing.
Signed by Chiang Chie Foo, Singapore’s permanent defense secretary, and Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the agreement “reaffirms the warm and close friendship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Singapore, as well as their mutual desire to strengthen defense exchanges and security cooperation,” a Singapore Ministry of Defense news release said. “The signing of the agreement marks a significant milestone in Singapore’s bilateral defense relationship and is testament to the growing defense ties between Singapore and China.”
The pact was signed amid Chiang’s visit to China on Jan. 6-8, during which he also met with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Cao Gangchuan and visited the PLA Academy of Military Science.
The agreement was first discussed during Singapore Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean’s meeting with Cao in Beijing in November 2005. In April 2006, during Cao’s visit to Singapore, both agreed to work toward an agreement for a framework for a bilateral defense partnership. It is the first defense cooperation agreement between China and Singapore and will formalize ongoing activities such as military personnel exchanges, education exchanges and port calls. The agreement also includes cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.