After taking a hit in early 2020 due to the pandemic, Singapore-China trade quickly rebounded and looks set to be in healthy territory in 2021. China’s increasing focus on regional trade agreements and industrial chains will give an added push. Academics Li Wenlong and Zhang Shiming give their take on what is in store.
Academics Pei Sai Fan, David Lee and Yan Li say that an understanding of other countries’ technological culture and policies is crucial in advancing digital economic cooperation. For instance, in the main, Singapore and China are able to mutually respect the differences in their blockchain and token policies, and focus on the complementarity of their approaches. Together, they can deepen their collaboration on central bank digital currencies and other projects, and lead the way regionally and globally in building digital economies of the future.
Professor He Yafei, a former vice-minister at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivered the keynote address at the Lianhe Zaobao Singapore-China Forum on 3 December. He touched on the imperatives of a new multipolar world, highlighting that being economically close to China, but relying on the US for security protection, is not going to work for the Southeast Asian region. He also spoke about Singapore and China working together bilaterally, for instance in terms of China’s new dual circulation economy, as well in the regional and international arena. Below is the edited transcript of his speech and QnA.
Professor Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large and Singapore’s former ambassador to the US, addressed the Lianhe Zaobao Singapore-China Forum on 4 December via Zoom. She said that there is still much that Singapore and China can work together on, such as in tightening the nuts and bolts of the recently signed RCEP, enhancing the ASEAN-China FTA, exchanging views on the CPTPP and WTO reform, and facilitating cooperation in the digital sector.
Two Singaporean businessmen reflect on their years spent working in China, and consider the Chinese approaches and attitudes that Singapore can do well to learn from. With the right bold strategic moves, more targeted incentives to specific sectors and also to civil servants, as well as an openness to adapt some of the lessons from countries like China, Singapore can remain globally relevant in these very uncertain times.
How do urban planners go about their work and what contributions do they make to the building of liveable cities? Ke Huanzhang, former head of the Beijing Academy of Urban Planning and Design, is all for the seamless melding of a good ecological environment, living facilities, jobs and public services in a city. Liu Thai Ker, the former chief architect and CEO of Singapore’s Housing Development Board, says a good planner needs to have the heart of a humanist, the brain of a scientist, and the eye of an artist. Tan Ying Zhen speaks to the veteran urban planners as part of a series of fireside chats put together to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
Chongqing’s GDP accounted for 2.3% of China’s total GDP in 2019, and roughly 2.4% of China-ASEAN bilateral trade volume. As the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative (CCI) enters its fifth year, EAI academic Yu Hong looks at the CCI and its major project, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (western corridor), and discusses the challenges the western corridor faces in building itself as the foremost connectivity channel between western Chinese and ASEAN enterprises.
Singapore's former Foreign Minister George Yeo looks back at the years of engagement between Singapore and China, including the period before the two countries established formal diplomatic ties. He says that while Singapore’s “Chinese-ness” had some part to play in building strong ties over the years, it is paramount that this be distinguished from Singapore’s status as an independent, sovereign, multiracial country. As China continues to rise and US-China tensions continue to fester, ASEAN and Singapore would need to be watchful of issues that could derail relations with China. Notwithstanding, there is much room for cooperation that the region can be sanguine about.
In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China, Lianhe Zaobao and ThinkChina present "In the Founders' Footsteps", a pictorial retrospective of Deng Xiaoping's visit to Singapore in 1978 and of Lee Kuan Yew's 33 trips to China between 1976 and 2011. Lee Huay Leng, editor of the photobook, says she was surprised not only by how widely Lee had travelled during those years, but by Lee's steadfast belief in China's reform and opening up. His predictions of China's future and its relations to the world also struck her as visionary and prescient.