Bilateral Relations

China and Singapore defense ministers signed MoU to established a secure communication line

by AP via Daily Sabah

China and Singapore laid the groundwork on Thursday for a hotline between the two countries that would establish a high-level communications link between Beijing and a close American partner in Asia at a time when Chinese tensions with Washington are high and dialogue has stalled.

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu, a general in China’s People’s Liberation Army who was named minister in March, signed a memorandum of understanding with his Singaporean counterpart Ng Eng Hen to work toward establishing a secure telephone link “for high-level communications between our defense leaders,” according to a statement released by Singapore.

“Such high-level open lines of communications are important for strengthening mutual understanding and trust,” the statement said, without giving a timeline for when it would be established.

Li is on his first visit to Singapore as defense minister, and is broadly discussing global and regional security issues with a range of officials. Singapore said both countries’ defense establishments “interact regularly through bilateral and multilateral exercises” and that his visit underscores “long-standing, warm and friendly” relations.

At the same time, Singapore is a close military and economic partner of the United States, and the agreement to establish the direct phone link comes as communications between Washington and Beijing are strained.

Read the full story on Daily Sabah

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