China, Singapore to set up defense telephone link

This undated photo shows Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, at a press briefing in Beijing, China. (PHOTO / MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, CHINA)

The Chinese and Singaporean defense ministers held talks in Singapore on Thursday that culminated in two sides signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of a secure defense telephone link.

State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General Li Shangfu held talks with his Singaporean counterpart Ng Eng Hen on Thursday morning, according to Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesman for China's Defense Ministry.

"The two defense ministers exchanged views on relations between the two nations and the two militaries, regional security situations and issues of shared interests," he said at a Thursday news briefing in Singapore, noting that the meeting was "a candid, in-depth and productive strategic communication".

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Both sides agree that the two militaries should conscientiously implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of both sides, continue to maintain sound momentum on advancing cooperation and strengthen high-level strategic communication, practical cooperation, multilateral exchanges and coordination to improve bilateral defense ties, the spokesman said.

After the meeting, the two defense ministers jointly witnessed the signing of the memorandum on the establishment of the defense telephone link.

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Li has been invited to attend the 20th Shangri-La Dialogue, which is set to open on Friday. He arrived in Singapore on Wednesday and will remain until Sunday, according to the Defense Ministry.