Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) and his Singaporen counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan shake hands with each other during a meeting in Beijing on Monday, June 12, 2017. [Photo: fmprc.gov.cn]
Foreign ministers of China and Singapore have met in Beijing and reached agreements to strengthen cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
During their talks, Wang Yi and Vivian Balakrishnan also discussed ways to deal with the South China Sea issue without outside involvement.
This is the fourth meeting between Chinese and Singaporean foreign ministers this year.
Speaking to the media after the talks, Wang Yi said cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative will be the biggest highlight of their bilateral relations.
During Monday's meeting, the two sides agreed to build three platforms as part of the cooperation regarding the Belt and Road Initiative.
The programs aim to boost connectivity projects in Chongqing, help with the financing of the initiative, and pool both country's strengths to open up third-party markets.
Vivian Balakrishnan described Singapore as a strong believer and supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative, hoping that countries along the route will be able to integrate their economies and expand opportunities for exchanges all all levels.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of strategic partnership between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Balakrishnan also said Singapore is willing to take on the opportunity to be a coordinator between the ASEAN and China and push forward ASEAN-China relations in all regards when it becomes the bloc's rotating president next year.
As part of the meeting, the two sides mentioned the negotiations on the contents of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.
Wang Yi said China and ASEAN have the ability to draw up regional rules to safeguard the peace and stability in the South China Sea on their own.
"China and the ASEAN countries are fully capable, through our joint efforts, to work out, in an independent way, regional rules for the peace and stability of the South China Sea. I think as long as we continue to enhance mutual trust, deepen cooperation and get rid of interference from inside and outside the region, maybe more of interference from the outside, and after necessary preparatory work by all parties, we will be able to hold substantive consultations on the COC texts at a proper time until we reach important regional rules. We have confidence in it."
Senior officials from China and ASEAN agreed on the framework for the CoC in the South China Sea on May 18.
Wang Yi suggested an important experience gained from the framework talks was creating a sound environment and clearing away outside distractions.
Topics of their discussion also included the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership talks and the establishment of the East Asian Economic Community.
The meeting was part of Balakrishnan's two-day trip to China.
He also met with Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and State Councilor Yang Jiechi during his official visit.