SPH chairman on Singapore-China relations:
 Don't lose sight of bigger picture

This article is more than 12 months old

Singapore and China have forged a strong and mutually beneficial relationship over the years, but even the best of friends do not always see eye to eye on every issue, said Singapore Press Holdings chairman Lee Boon Yang yesterday.

When the two countries disagree, leaders from both sides have to work harder to achieve a better understanding of each other's position, he said in a speech at the inaugural Lianhe Zaobao Singapore-China forum.

"Even if we cannot achieve a full consensus or reach a resolution on a specific issue, we must not lose sight of the big picture. Our common interests and mutual benefits clearly outweigh such occasional differences," said Dr Lee, who was a Cabinet minister from 1991 to 2009.

At the closed-door forum organised by SPH's Chinese daily broadsheet Lianhe Zaobao, 35 academics, diplomats and international relations watchers discussed how to strengthen Sino-Singapore ties.

Going forward, both countries can focus on economic cooperation, strengthen the ties between their people and work on regional cooperation, Dr Lee said.

Next year is a good opportunity for both countries to bring Asean and China closer, as Singapore will be both the country coordinator for Asean-China dialogue and the Asean chair, he noted.