Singapore and China will work out the operational details of the mutual 30-day visa exemption arrangement, with the aim to implement it in early 2024.
This was announced by the Prime Minister's Officer (PMO) in a media release issued on Dec. 7.
New visa arrangement announced during 19th JCBC
The new visa arrangement was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong at the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) forum held in Tianjin, China, on Dec. 7.
Under the current arrangements, Singaporeans entering China for business, tourism, family visits, and transit purposes are entitled to a 15-day visa-free entry policy, while Chinese citizens holding ordinary passports are required to obtain a valid visa to travel and seek entry into Singapore.
At the annual apex-level platform, Wong said that the 30-day visa exemption arrangement between Singapore and China will help the direct flight connectivity between the two countries to reach and even "go beyond" pre-Covid levels.
The arrangement will also "fortify the bedrock" of bilateral relations between Singapore and China, according to Wong.
Singapore and China reviewed progress of bilateral cooperation
According to PMO, Singapore and China also reviewed the progress of bilateral cooperation in "a wide range of areas" at the 19th JCBC forum.
These areas include the Belt and Road Initiative, trade, sustainability, agriculture, finance, and public health.
Wong and China's Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang, both co-chairs of the forum, agreed that the cooperation between the two countries had been "comprehensive and progressive", evolving over the years in tandem with each country's respective development priorities.
24 MOUs & agreements announced
Wong and Ding also agreed that both countries should continue to adopt "a forward-leaning approach" and seize opportunities in emerging areas to "deliver high-quality outcomes" that would benefit both countries and contribute to regional prosperity.
To this end, the two leaders welcomed the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) Further Upgrade Protocol.
The CSFTA Further Upgrade Protocol is one of the 24 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and agreements announced at the forum.
Other MOUs and agreements cover a diverse range of areas of bilateral cooperation between Singapore and China and involve various government bodies from both countries.
On Singapore's side, these government agencies include the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, and the Ministry of National Development.
Top image via Lawrence Wong/Facebook