The Singapore Ministry of Defence, RSIS and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defence University (NDU) co-organised a Track 1.5 virtual workshop on “30 Years of Diplomatic Relations between Singapore and China and Reflections on China-Southeast Asia Relations”, which took place on 21 December 2020. Distinguished scholars from local think tanks and universities, as well as from the PLA NDU, attended this workshop.
Such academic exchanges between think tanks and military academies are one of the key areas of cooperation and exchanges under the enhanced Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation signed between Singapore and China in October 2019. As Singapore and China mark the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations this year, regular academic exchanges help to strengthen the warm and long-standing bilateral ties between both countries.
MINDEF Deputy Secretary (Policy), Mr Teo Eng Dih and PLA NDU Vice-President, Major General Xie Weikuan, gave the opening remarks for the workshop. The distinguished speakers and moderator on the Singapore side included Amb Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS; Mr Choi Shing Kwok, Director of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute; Prof Tan Tai Yong, President of Yale-NUS College; Prof Joseph, Chinyong Liow, Research Advisor at RSIS and Dean, NTU College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CoHASS); and Rear Admiral Ken Cheong Kwok Chien, Commandant, SAFTI Military Institute, Singapore Armed Forces. Observers from ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, NTU CoHASS and RSIS also took part in this workshop.
Distinguished speakers and moderator from the PLA NDU National Security College (NSC) and the International College of Defence Studies (ICDS) were Major General Tang Yongsheng, Deputy Commandant, NSC; Senior Colonel Cai Jinsong, Professor and Deputy Commandant, ICDS; Senior Colonel Qi Dapeng, Professor and Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies, NSC; Senior Colonel Wang Bin, Professor and Deputy Director of the ICDS Teaching and Translation Section; and Colonel Zhang Chi, Associate Professor, Centre for Strategic Studies, NSC.
During the virtual workshop, the discussants exchanged candid views on the topics of Singapore-China relations and the outlook for ASEAN-China relations. They also commemorated the 30th anniversary of Singapore-China diplomatic ties and explored ways to further bilateral partnership.