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.
China appears to be making a concerted effort to reach out to friendlier countries in an effort to draw them closer. Yang Jiechi, who is a Politburo member and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, is visiting Singapore and South Korea this week. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook thinks that both China and Singapore are seeking to broaden their strategic space amid a more unpredictable and precarious world.
From working to keep supply chains open to establishing “fast lanes” for essential travel, China and Singapore have been working together to face the tough challenges of the pandemic. Beyond pomp and pageantry, these actions are a sign of the strong ties that the two countries have forged over the last 30 years and more. In a recent interview with Lianhe Zaobao, Chinese ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong said Singapore and China have been working together this year, showing the strength of bilateral relations. And when the coronavirus is over, Singapore and China will be able to cooperate in more areas. With ASEAN becoming China’s top trading partner for the first time ever in the first half of the year, there is even greater scope for China-ASEAN cooperation.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between China and Singapore. In a recent interview with Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore’s Ambassador to China Lui Tuck Yew takes stock of the relationship, speaks of the challenges and opportunities brought about by Covid-19, and looks ahead to greater heights that the two countries can scale together through greater collaboration and cooperation.
It was a very different time when Kwek So Cheer visited the doctor in China prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. Nevertheless, recent events have highlighted the need for countries to band together, sharing knowledge and expertise, not least in healthcare management. Speaking from personal experience, Kwek thinks that Singapore can collaborate with China to build a better healthcare experience beyond this special period.