Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General (GEN) Wei Fenghe is in Singapore for his introductory military visit and to attend the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). GEN Wei was welcomed by a Guard of Honour at the Ministry of Defence this afternoon, before a formal bilateral meeting with Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen.
During the meeting, both Ministers agreed on a substantial programme to deepen defence ties and step up bilateral engagements on various fronts. They welcomed the conduct of Exercise Cooperation involving both armies this year and agreed for Exercise Maritime Cooperation by both navies to be held in 2020. Both Ministers also agreed to revise the Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation (ADESC) between Singapore and China, which was first signed in 2008.
The proposed exchanges to be introduced or stepped up include the establishment of frequent high-level dialogues, new arrangements for Services-to-Services cooperation, academic and think-tank exchanges, as well as an increase in the scale of existing bilateral exercises. The revised ADESC is expected to be signed by both Ministers later this year.
Dr Ng also invited the People's Liberation Army Air Force Ba Yi aerobatics team to participate at the Singapore Airshow 2020. Both Ministers discussed regional security and practical ways in which the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus could build confidence among militaries and avoid conflict.
As part of his programme, GEN Wei will visit RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base, where he will be briefed on the Republic of Singapore Navy's Information Fusion Centre, and board the Archer-class submarine RSS Swordsman and the Formidable-class frigate RSS Stalwart. RSS Stalwart had interacted with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) on multiple occasions, most recently during the PLAN's 70th Anniversary International Fleet Review and the Southeast Asia-China Maritime Exercise 2019 held earlier in April this year. GEN Wei will also visit Headquarters 3rd Singapore Division, which will host Exercise Cooperation between the armies of both countries later this year.
As part of his introductory visit, GEN Wei will call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat, as well as be hosted to dinner by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean. GEN Wei will also speak at a plenary session during the 18th SLD, held from 31 May to 2 June 2019.
GEN Wei's visit underscores the long-standing, warm and friendly bilateral defence relations between Singapore and China, which have deepened and grown over the years. In addition to high-level exchanges, the Singapore Armed Forces and the People's Liberation Army interact regularly through port calls, bilateral exercises, mutual visits, and cross-attendance of courses.