Singapore and China have pledged deeper cooperation in areas ranging from public health to trade with the signing of a landmark number of 10 agreements at an apex bilateral forum between both countries, beating last year’s count of nine.
The 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), held on Tuesday (Dec 8), was co-chaired by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng.
Speaking to local media to wrap up the session, Mr. Heng said: “The substantive agenda this year reflects the breadth and depth of our cooperation. This builds on a strong foundation established by leaders on both sides and successive generations of JCBC co-chairs.”
He added that the continued commitment to joint projects and collaboration amid the challenging COVID-19 pandemic was a testament to the resilience of ties between the two countries.
This year’s meeting was also of “special significance”, he said, as 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of Singapore’s diplomatic relations with China.
It was Mr. Heng’s second time co-chairing the council meeting, which was held virtually.
More cooperation on health, biomedical, food safety
Among the numerous agreements signed were two memoranda of understanding (MOUs) focused on deepening cooperation in public health – a new pillar of partnership under the JCBC.
Under one MOU, Singapore’s health ministry will work with China’s National Health Commission to strengthen collaboration in areas such as the prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, health promotion, and primary health care.
Another MOU on health policy fellowship exchange was renewed after it was first signed in 2013. With it, both sides will exchange health fellows to work at institutions involved in the areas of disease prevention and control.
The cooperation on public health would include working together on vaccine development, production, and distribution, as well as diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19, said Singapore Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who accompanied Mr. Heng along with nine other ministers.
Source: Channel News Asia