Reassuring that Chinese minister is here for forum: Ng Eng Hen
The presence of China's Defence Minister Wei Fenghe in Singapore for an upcoming high-level security forum is reassuring amid the trade tensions between the US and China, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen yesterday.
It shows a confident China willing to engage with the region and the world, he said.
Dr Ng said he also doubts the US or China wants to raise tensions in the region despite their trade dispute.
"Particularly because they are trade tensions, I think it's even more important for security agencies to give reassurance that there won't be an increased risk of miscalculations or misperceptions and, worse still, conflicts," he said.
Dr Ng was speaking to reporters at the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) after a bilateral meeting with General Wei, who is making an introductory visit to Singapore.
Gen Wei is scheduled to speak at the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), a top-level annual regional security conference organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, which will start tomorrow and end on Sunday.
Dr Ng said that when the Chinese side received the invitation to take part in the SLD, the events that transpired in recent months, such as trade tensions and technological barriers, were not predicted.
Since China and the US failed to reach a trade deal in Washington earlier this month, both sides have announced tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other's goods. Washington has also blacklisted Chinese technology giant Huawei - which it accuses of aiding Beijing in espionage - and has restricted the company's dealings with US companies.
Dr Ng said: "I put across to (Gen Wei) that it was even more relevant for him to be here because there would be many questions asked on security implications.
"And, in particular, how his ministry and the PLA (People's Liberation Army) would respond."
During discussions yesterday, the Chinese and Singapore defence ministers agreed to deepen defence ties and step up bilateral engagements on various fronts, said Mindef in a statement after the meeting.
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