China State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General (GEN) Li Shangfu is conducting his introductory visit to Singapore from 1 to 4 June 2023, and attending the 20th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). As part of his visit, GEN Li was welcomed by a Guard of Honour at the Ministry of Defence and co-chaired the second Singapore-China Defence Ministers' Dialogue (DMD) with Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen this morning. Both Ministers also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Establishment of a Secure Defense Telephone Link, between Permanent Secretary (Defence) Chan Heng Kee and China People's Liberation Army Deputy Chief of Joint Staff Central Military Commission Lieutenant-General Jing Jianfeng. Both the DMD and the MOU are initiatives under the enhanced Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation (ADESC) signed in 2019.
During the dialogue, Dr Ng and GEN Li reaffirmed their commitment towards strengthening defence cooperation as agreed upon under the enhanced ADESC. Both Ministers also discussed global and regional security issues, and practical ways to strengthen ASEAN-China defence cooperation under the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus.
Under the MOU, both defence establishments will work towards establishing a Secure Defense Telephone Link for high-level communications between our defence leaders. Such high-level open lines of communication are important for strengthening mutual understanding and trust.
As part of his introductory visit, GEN Li will call on Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, and will be hosted to dinner by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean. GEN Li also visited the Multi-Mission Range Complex at Pasir Laba. For the SLD, GEN Li will speak at a plenary session titled "China's New Security Initiatives" on 4 June 2023.
GEN Li's visit underscores the long-standing, warm and friendly bilateral defence relations between Singapore and China. Both defence establishments interact regularly through bilateral and multilateral exercises, high-level visits, professional exchanges, port calls, as well as the cross-attendance of courses and seminars.