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World would like to see continuity in management of China-US relationship: Ng Eng Hen

BEIJING: Most world leaders would like to see continuity and follow-up in how China and the United States manage their relationship, said Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, as the top leaders of the two superpowers get ready to meet later this month.  

He added this involves ensuring that the process does not get disrupted by other issues that may emerge, like they have in the past. 

Speaking to the media on Wednesday (Nov 1) as he wrapped up a four-day visit to Beijing, Dr Ng referenced the alleged Chinese spy balloon incident earlier this year, which resulted in US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponing his planned trip to Beijing. 

BIDEN, XI TO MEET AT APEC SIDELINES

The White House announced on Wednesday that US President Joe Biden will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco.  

Dr Ng said the confirmation did not come as a surprise, as officials he spoke with in Beijing signalled that the meeting was on the cards. 

But he added that expectations should be realistic.  

“They’re not at the stage where they can aim for resolution of core differences,” said Dr Ng. 

“They’re far away from that. Nobody expects it.” 

Instead, Dr Ng suggested that both sides should look at aspects which they can agree on or are achievable, that will “build confidence” at various levels. 

These could be on the economic or defence fronts, or in joint actions to deal with transnational global threats, such as climate change and the Israel-Hamas conflict.  

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