S'pore & China ink highest number of MOUs in recent years as sign of 'strong' bilateral relations

Singapore hopes to deepen its collaboration with China.

Faris Alfiq | December 29, 2021, 11:42 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

Singapore and China signed a total of 14 memorandum of understanding (MOUs) and agreements at the 17th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

The highest-level bilateral cooperation platform between the two countries are co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and China's Vice Premier Han Zheng.

Held via videoconference this year, Heng described the JCBC, which was first held in 2004, as "an important platform to give strategic direction to our bilateral cooperation".

High number of MOUs signed reflects strong bilateral relations

Speaking to the media after the meetings, Heng said this is the highest number of MOUs signed during the JCBC in recent years, and it "reflects the strong foundation of our collaboration over the years".

Heng added that agreements signed this year are "forward-looking", which means looking at the post-Covid world.

"We need to have an economy that is much more digitalised, much more reliant on technology and innovation," he said.

The deals encompassed areas such as digital economy, science and technology innovation, green development, and smart cities.

Heng also outlined three emerging areas of cooperation during his bilateral meeting with Han.

They are digitalisation, sustainability and people-to-people connectivity.

Threat of climate change a global priority: Heng

On sustainability, Heng said that the threat of climate change is a global priority, and the discussions on green development "reflects our emphasis on high-quality development".

One of the MOUs signed between both countries was regarding nature conservation.

Areas of collaboration include resource optimisation (plastic and e-waste management) and Zero Waste initiatives that build on the experience in the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City.

Heng and Han also discussed enhancing cooperation in the digital economy.

The use of digital technology can enable economic recovery and promote long-term growth by strengthening the flows of goods, data and finance, Heng said.

"We should deepen collaboration on interoperable digital frameworks, which can be useful for the rest of Asean and indeed, for the rest of the world," he added.

Heng also highlighted that people-to-people connectivity is key to fostering mutual understanding.

In that regard, he shared that he conveyed to Vice Premier Han the hope of many Singaporeans to see a restoration of air connectivity with China.

"I hope that when China is ready to resume cross border travel, Singapore will be among the first countries in which China restores greater connectivity," he said.

Heng also noted that he was glad to hear that Han had "expressed support" for the safe resumption of cross border travel between the two countries, in accordance with the respective health protocols.

Related story:

Follow and listen to our podcast here

Top image adapted via Ministry of Communication and Information