1 of 3 | Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu and Singapore Defense Minister Dr. Eg Eng Hen shake hands as they agreed to establish a secure defense telephone link between the two nations Thursday. Photo courtesy of Singapore Defense Ministry
June 1 (UPI) -- Singapore Thursday announced an agreement to establish a secure defense telephone link with China. It came during the introductory visit of Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Li Shangfu.
Singapore Defense Minister, Dr. Ng Eng Hen, hosted Li for the second China-Singapore Defense Minister's Dialogue.
"Both defense establishments will work towards establishing a Secure Defense Telephone Link for high-level communications between our defense leaders," Singapore's Defense Ministry said in a statement. "Such high-level open lines of communication are important for strengthening mutual understanding and trust."
The two nations have increased their defense and security ties and communications since 2019.
"Gen. Li's visit underscores the long-standing, warm and friendly bilateral defense relations between Singapore and China," Singapore's Defense Ministry said. "Both defense 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."
Singapore's government said during the dialogue, "Dr Ng and Gen. Li reaffirmed their commitment towards strengthening defense cooperation as agreed upon under the enhanced ADESC. Both Ministers also discussed global and regional security issues, and practical ways to strengthen ASEAN-China defense cooperation under the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus."
The ADESC is an enhanced agreement on defense exchanges and security cooperation between the two nations signed in 2019.
It established a regular ministerial level dialogue between China and Singapore while also committing to regular and scaled-up bilateral military exercises.
ASEAN is the 11-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
In 2020 Singapore participated with the United States in military exercises in the South China Sea.
During a visit to Singapore in 2022, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other high-level officials. They agreed to strengthen U.S.-Singapore cooperation in the region.