Naval forces of China and Singapore are scheduled to conduct a joint drill in waters near Singapore on Wednesday, according to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.
Joint operations of fleet rendezvous, communication, formation movement, and joint salvage will be conducted as part of the drill, said Gao Xiucheng, a PLA Navy spokesperson.
The Chinese participants are from the PLA Navy’s 36th escort fleet currently in the relevant waters, the spokesperson added.
The joint exercise, conducted based on the two navies’ consensus, aims to boost mutual trust, enhance friendship and cooperation and jointly promote a maritime community of shared future, Gao said.
The exercise statement comes after both nations inked an agreement in 2019 to boost military ties, following joint naval exercises in 2016. Chinese media reported that adding the deal would include high-level talks and academic exchanges.
Chinese – Singapore relations
China-Singapore relations, also referred to as the Chinese-Singaporean relations or Sino-Singaporean relations, are the bilateral relations between China and Singapore. Relations between the two countries formally started on 3 October 1990. Diplomatic missions were established in the early 1990s based on trade and the warming of ties from other ASEAN countries towards mainland China.
Singapore and China have maintained a long-standing and much prioritized close relationship, partly because of the latter’s growing influence and essentiality in the Asia-Pacific region, specifying that “its common interest with China is far greater than any differences”. Furthermore, Singapore has positioned itself as a strong supporter of China’s constructive engagement and peaceful development in the region. It has engaged cooperation with other ASEAN members and China to strengthen regional security and fight terrorism while participating in its first maritime exercise.
Singapore’s relationship with China has evolved. China may always give a bit more leeway to Singapore, a country with an ethnic Chinese majority, but that leeway has limits, as the ethnic Chinese residents of Hong Kong have learned.