Maintaining Singapore's international relations

Singapore will continue to maintain good relations with other countries

02 Mar 2017

Speaking in Parliament, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, SMS Josephine Teo and SMS Maliki touched on one of the key tenets of Singapore’s foreign policy, which is to maintain its long-term value proposition and relevance to other countries.

Relations with China

Singapore’s bilateral relationship with China is built on the strong foundations laid by Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Deng Xiaoping, and both countries are currently exploring ways to deepen cooperation in China’s "Belt and Road" initiative after a Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting.   

The third and latest joint project, Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI), has been designated a priority demonstration project for the “Belt and Road” initiative, and will play a catalytic role in linking up Western China and Southeast Asia.

Relations with United States

While there are some inevitable uncertainties with a new administration, Singapore will be adaptable in developing win-win partnerships with the US, and continue to build on developments in areas such as trade and defence.

Relations with ASEAN

Singapore’s relations with Malaysia marked a new milestone with the signing of the Agreement on the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) in December 2016, which will transform the way both countries interact and do business.

In addition to the HSR, both countries are also looking to sign a bilateral agreement on the Singapore-JB Rapid Transit System (RTS) this year. The RTS is expected to improve the flow of people and business between Singapore and Johor, and bring both sides closer.

Singapore’s relations with Indonesia has remained strong and reached 50 years of diplomatic relations this year.  Both countries will set up an Indonesia-Singapore Business Council and explore cooperation in the energy and tourism sectors.

Singapore will build on its ties with other ASEAN countries through initiatives such as the Singapore-Brunei Young Leaders Programme and the mutual lifting of visa requirements between Singapore and Myanmar. 

In addition to driving ASEAN linkages and developments, Singapore will continue to advance initiatives such as enhancing connectivity and making progress on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea in the remaining one and a half years as ASEAN-China dialogue relations coordinator.

Singapore’s relations with international partners

Relations with key partners like Japan, India, Australia, and the UK are good and will continue to deepen.  Brexit notwithstanding, Singapore will engage Europe and the EU through the EU-Singapore FTA and the EU-ASEAN Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement.    

Increasing opportunities for Singaporeans and Singapore companies: Singapore will continue to seek economic links and opportunities for its companies in emerging markets such as Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. 

Singapore will also be promoting regional and international economic groupings and arrangements to increase opportunities for Singaporeans and Singapore companies. 

Source: MFA Speeches at the Committee of Supply 2017