Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen is in China from 17 to 22 October 2019. He met Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General (GEN) Wei Fenghe, before they signed the enhanced bilateral Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation (ADESC) on 20 October 2019. Dr Ng also called on Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission GEN Xu Qiliang. In Wuhan, Dr Ng was in a joint call on President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping and attended the opening ceremony of the 7th Military World Games, on 18 October 2019. Dr Ng also attended the opening ceremony of the 9th Beijing Xiangshan Forum on 21 October 2019 and participated in the plenary sessions.
This morning, Dr Ng spoke at 9th Beijing Xiangshan Forum, during the third plenary session titled "Interests of Small and Medium-Sized Countries and Common Security", alongside Cambodia Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense General Tea Banh, Nepal Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Hon. Mr. Ishwar Pokhrel, Serbia Minister of Defence Aleksander Vulin and Rwanda Minister of Defence Major General Albert Murasira.
In his speech, Dr Ng highlighted the challenge faced by small countries like Singapore when major powers clash. He said, "For small countries like Singapore, we watch with deep concern as larger powers position themselves more aggressively against each other. Singapore will maintain its strong friendships with both and avoid choosing sides. But it is also acutely aware that the farther the US and China pull apart, the harder it would be for all countries to keep to this principled and neutral position." Dr Ng said that it was critical for the US and China to find common space to preserve global stability and prosperity that will benefit all countries big and small. "The US and China need to find some common ground while agreeing to disagree on other issues, so as not to risk global instability. Our world needs both the US and China, not only to ensure progress and stability but also to deal with common security challenges such as climate change, nuclear threats and terrorism," added Dr Ng.
The Beijing Xiangshan Forum, co-organised by the People's Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences and the China Institute for International Strategic Studies, brings together high-level defence, military and foreign affairs leaders from around the world to discuss a range of security issues. The topics discussed at this year's forum included major power relations, security risk management in the Asia-Pacific and international arms control regime.