Asia Minute: Singapore Leader’s China Travels

Sep 25, 2017

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 2012 World Economic Forum
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations General Assembly in New York has captured a lot of media attention over the last week or so. But on the other side of the world, a different meeting of international leaders last week quietly produced a number of developments. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The President of China and the Prime Minister of Singapore spent some quality time together last week.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong led a delegation to Beijing for three days.

He then told reporters “I think bilateral relations are more stable, they are in a good state.”

It’s been a rough year for those bilateral relations, in November nine armored vehicles being shipped from Taiwan to Singapore were seized in Hong Kong.

Several months later they were returned to Singapore, but many saw the move as a way for Beijing to signal its displeasure with Singapore’s military exercises in Taiwan.

Singapore’s Defense Minister came along on this trip, and pictures of him hugging his Chinese counterpart were prominently featured in the national state-run media of both countries.

Singapore’s delegation also included the Foreign Minister, Finance Minister and other top officials.

Prime Minister Lee met with four of the seven members of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee.

That is the very top of China’s power structure less than a month before the meeting of the Communist Party Congress. An event that only takes place once every five years.

As for Singapore’s Prime Minister, he has more international travel planned including a scheduled trip to Washington next month.