|Wang Yi Speaks by Phone with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan|
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on the phone on 28 April.
Wang underlined the support and help Singapore extended to China at the trying moment in its fight against COVID-19, and expressed China's readiness to continue to provide medical supplies to Singapore and facilitate quality inspection, quarantine and customs clearance in light of the new challenges in the country's outbreak situation. Noting the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year, Wang stressed that both sides need to maintain political mutual trust and keep taking bilateral relations forward with greater strength.
Wang commended the decisive measures recently taken by Singapore, which have kept the new wave of infection under control and reassured the public, and expressed confidence that under the leadership of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore will ultimately win a full victory against the disease. Noting the large number of Chinese students and workers in Singapore, Wang underscored that the Chinese government cares a great deal about their health and safety, and that China trusts Singapore will provide them with timely testing and treatment and protect their legitimate rights and interests.
Wang said that China would like to strengthen coordination with Singapore and discuss the opening of a "fast lane" for essential personnel exchanges and a "green lane" for the distribution of much-needed medical supplies. With routine containment in place, it is imperative to forestall resurgence in infections and lock in the gains in COVID-19 response, and at the same time, keep the smooth flow of economic activities in East Asia and ensure the stable operation of supply and industrial chains. Such efforts serve the interests of both countries and the wider region. Underscoring the important consensus reached at the recent successful Special ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit on COVID-19, Wang proposed a special APT foreign ministers' meeting to be convened at an early date to deliver the outcomes of the special summit.
Citing the phrase "a friend in need is a friend indeed", Minister Balakrishnan expressed deep appreciation toward China, a trusted friend, for standing firmly with and extending a helping hand to Singapore without any hesitation. Singapore commends China's success in tackling the virus and in steadily resuming economic activities, as all this sends a signal of hope to the world in prevailing over the disease. Placing great importance on the health and safety of Chinese nationals staying in the country amid the new wave of infection, Singapore has taken effective measures to protect their legitimate rights and interests. Singapore stays firmly committed to the one-China policy and there is no change of position on this issue of principle.
Minister Balakrishnan expressed Singapore's readiness to work actively with China to facilitate the opening of a "fast lane" for essential personnel exchanges and a "green lane" for the shipment of supplies. The two sides need to focus on harmonizing the standards of testing reagents and ensure the smooth functioning of supply and industrial chains, with a view to setting a model for ASEAN, the APT region and beyond. Singapore stands ready to join hands with China to uphold multilateralism, eliminate non-tariff barriers, and safeguard the global free trade system with the WTO at its center. Singapore supports the early convening of a special APT foreign ministers' meeting to follow through on the consensus of the special summit.