Vivian Balakrishnan stresses need to avoid miscalculation, accidents in meeting with China’s Wang Yi

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi

Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has emphasised the need to avoid miscalculation and accidents, which could lead to an escalatory spiral and destabilise the region.

Dr Balakrishnan also hopes that the United States and China will work out a modus vivendi, and stressed the need for stable US-China relations, which are vital for peace and security.

A modus vivendi refers to an arrangement that lets parties facing disagreements coexist peacefully, either indefinitely or until a final settlement is reached.

Dr Balakrishnan made these points in a meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday (Aug 4), Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.

“They exchanged views on the regional and international situation, including recent developments in the Taiwan Strait,” the statement said.

“Singapore has a clear and consistent ‘one China’ policy and is opposed to Taiwan independence and any unilateral moves to change the status quo,” it added.

Both ministers are in Phnom Penh for the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings.

The meeting came amid heightened US-China tensions, including China launching military drills in the Taiwan Strait, following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan on Wednesday (Aug 3).

ASEAN ministers have also called for “maximum restraint” and urged the global community to avoid actions that could destabilise the region.

During their meeting, Dr Balakrishnan and Wang reaffirmed the strong ties between Singapore and China, and discussed the importance of intensifying bilateral high-level exchanges, MFA said.

These include earlier visits to Singapore by State Councillor and National Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe in June, and by Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Liu Jianchao last month.

Dr Balakrishnan and Wang also look forward to the full restoration of air connectivity, and the resumption of student, tourist and business exchanges when conditions permit, MFA added.

Earlier on Thursday, ASEAN foreign ministers also met Wang at the ASEAN-China Post-Ministerial Conference and at the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which included their counterparts from Japan and South Korea.

The ASEAN ministers also met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the ASEAN-US Post-Ministerial Conference.

At the meeting, the leaders continued discussions they started at the ASEAN-US Special Summit in May, Dr Balakrishnan said.

The leaders ended their meeting in Washington with an agreement to work on upgrading their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in November, which the minister said he looked forward to.

“We welcomed the US’ efforts to remain engaged, and continue playing a constructive role for the peace, prosperity and development of our region,” he said.

He added that ASEAN and the US aim to enhance cooperation in the immediate post-pandemic recovery era and build a sustainable and climate-resilient future.



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