This year marks the 30th anniversary for Singapore-China relations. Although COVID-19 has disrupted physical exchanges and projects, Singapore’s ties with China have emerged stronger this year. Instead of visits, engagements have taken the form of virtual meetings. In the spirit of strengthening engagement and support, RSIS co-hosted a Track 1.5 virtual workshop with the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) on “COVID-19 and Its Impact on East Asia” on 21 August 2020.
Such Track 1.5 exchanges were formalised under the enhanced Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation (ADESC) signed in October 2019 on the sidelines of the Xiangshan Forum between Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and Minister of National Defense GEN Wei Fenghe.
MINDEF Deputy Secretary (Policy), Mr Teo Eng Dih; RSIS Dean, Prof Ralf Emmers; and CCG founder-director, Dr Wang Huiyao, gave the opening remarks for the workshop. There were three panels on geopolitics and East Asian security; economics and supply chain; and public health governance and global collaboration. The distinguished speakers and moderators for this workshop included Prof Khong Yuen Foong, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) Vice Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Political Science; Prof Jia Qingguo, Peking University; Prof Danny Quah, LKYSPP Dean; Mr Bert Hofman, Director of the East Asian Institute (EAI), NUS; Dr Wang; Prof Guo Yan, Peking University; and Prof Tikki Pangestu, Visiting Professor from the Yong Loo Lin Medical School, NUS.
Experts from think tanks in Singapore and China such as ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, EAI, Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) and China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) also took part in this workshop. Discussants from China were led by Amb Su Ge, Chairman Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, China; and former CIIS President.