After high-level US visits, Singapore hosts China’s lead diplomat

Wang Yi
Wang Yi

Three weeks after the visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday hosted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for what he said was “a productive and candid discussion on international and regional affairs.”

Lee said Singapore “welcomes China’s continued contribution in our part of the world” and that his government would “continue working with China to build a more harmonious and peaceful world.”

Shortly after landing in Singapore on Monday, Wang discussed implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a 15-country deal described as the world’s biggest trade agreement when it was signed late last year, with counterpart minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Balakrishnan said he “welcomed China’s interest in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership,” a separate trade deal involving 11 countries that was instigated by the US before being jettisoned by the Trump administration.

Wang’s Singapore visit comes before he flies to South Korea and after earlier stops in Cambodia and Vietnam, where US Vice President Harris visited in August and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin the month before.

Vietnam and the US both dispute Beijing’s claim to most of the South China Sea.

According to China’s Foreign Ministry, Wang told Vietnamese leaders this week that both nations “are socialist countries under the leadership of communist parties” and that “consolidating and revitalizing the socialist cause is of paramount importance.”

Harris’s trip to South-East Asia, where the US has sought to counter growing Chinese influence, was overshadowed by the Taliban seizing control of Afghanistan just days before.

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