Singapore

DPM Teo: Singapore, China share common interests

Singapore and China have a broad and long-standing relationship, and their common interest in building a peaceful region is much greater than their occasional differences of views, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

"We share similar views on most issues and have worked well together to advance these common interests," he told Chinese news agency Xinhua in an e-mail interview ahead of his Beijing visit, which started yesterday.

"But even among close neighbours and friends, there may be different perspectives on some issues, given that countries have different size, history, vulnerabilities and geographical location."

'FRICTIONS'

He was replying to a question on recent "frictions" in Sino-Singapore relations at the government and people-to-people level.

Last November, Hong Kong Customs detained nine armoured vehicles of the Singapore Armed Forces on board a ship transiting there.

In referring to progress in the bilateral relationship, Mr Teo also said Singapore has consistently abided by its "one China" policy.

On Singapore's role as country coordinator for Asean-China cooperation, he said the Republic will do its best to strengthen and deepen cooperation between the two sides.

However, he also noted that it is not easy to reach a consensus on every issue among the 10 members of Asean and China.

"What is important is to maintain close communication so that we can expand on our common interests and reduce differences," he added.

Mr Teo is in Beijing for the 13th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, a platform for deepening and broadening ties between the two sides, that he co-chairs with Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli.

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ChinaTeo Chee HeanSouth China Sea