Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan's participation in the "Asia and Pacific High-Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation"

24 June 2021

         Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan participated in the “Asia and Pacific High-Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation” on 23 June 2021.  The videoconference was chaired by PRC State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi.


          In his remarks, Minister Balakrishnan emphasised Singapore’s strong support for vaccine multilateralism and commitment to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and future global health threats through international cooperation.  Minister Balakrishnan stressed the importance of advancing economic integration and maintaining trade and investment flows by strengthening supply chain resilience.  He highlighted the role of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor in fostering greater connectivity across and beyond the Belt and Road.  Minister Balakrishnan also affirmed Singapore’s commitment to sustainable development and support for the Paris Agreement.  Minister Balakrishnan’s full remarks are at Annex.


          Other participants also reaffirmed the importance of solidarity and international cooperation in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.  They discussed how countries have worked together to accelerate healthcare cooperation and promote economic recovery amidst the disruptions caused by COVID-19.  The participants also agreed on the importance of sustainable economic recovery, and exchanged views on strategies to mitigate the common challenge of climate change while promoting inclusive growth.


          The conference was attended by 29 countries, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Advisory Council of the Belt and Road Forum, Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition, and the Eurasian Economic Union.



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24 JUNE 2021








23 JUNE 2021



1        Thank you State Councilor Wang Yi for convening this meeting at a very apt time.



2        Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken centre stage. We believe COVID-19 will be endemic and permanent in the human population. I just want to make three quick points.



3        First, that COVID-19 has illustrated the urgent need for global cooperation on healthcare and vaccine distribution. Singapore is a strong supporter of vaccine multilateralism. We believe in fair and equitable distribution of vaccines. This is essential for global recovery. We have also begun discussing with many partners, including China, the mutual recognition of health certificates, in order to facilitate the safe resumption of travel, and this we believe is essential for a sustainable global recovery.



4        Second, we must advance economic integration and connectivity. Amongst the many disruptions caused by COVID-19, having stable and resilient supply chains remains key to ensuring the continued flow of essential goods and medical supplies.



5       One good example is the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (CCI-ILSTC), a key initiative under the CCI, Singapore’s third Government-to-Government project with China. The CCI-ILSTC, which serves as a multi-modal and multi-faceted link between Southeast Asia and Western China, has proven itself to be a viable and effective alternative trade route. Despite the pandemic, this route has seen a 30 percent year‑on‑year increase in cargo flows last year. Mind you, even in the midst of a pandemic, a 30 percent increase in cargo flows. It is well‑positioned to further enhance connectivity across and beyond the Belt and Road.



6        Beyond infrastructural connectivity, the Belt and Road Initiative has also fostered stronger cooperation between Singapore and China, and it includes the areas of financial connectivity; third party collaborations; and professional services, including legal and judicial cooperation.



7        My third and final point is that we must not lose sight of the existential threat of climate change. Singapore is a strong advocate for the Paris Agreement. In fact, I can tell you from personal experience, the Paris Agreement was a key result of great collaboration among the United States, China, Europe, and the rest of the world. We believe that all of us need to seize the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to make a global reset to achieve a more sustainable future.



8        In Singapore, we recently unveiled the Singapore Green Plan 2030, outlining a whole-of-nation approach to sustainable development, and we are committed to working with partners in areas such as green finance and clean energy solutions. As Co-Chair of the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC), Singapore believes that there are many opportunities for partners to work constructively together on innovative and sustainable solutions. The decisions we make on green recovery today will have profound long‑term implications on future generations.



9        Thank you very much, State Councilor.



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