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China Daily Website

Singapore to maintain strong links with US, China

Updated: 2013-03-08 20:06
( Xinhua)

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's Foreign Minister K Shanmugam said on Friday that the consistent position of the city state is to maintain strong links with both the United States and China.

"Singapore's consistent position is to maintain strong links with both, with close cooperation and common interests across a range of issues," the minister said in response to a question raised by a lawmaker on whether there will be any changes in the US engagement of the region in view of the appointment of John Kerry as the Secretary of State.

Shanmugam said that he was hoping that Kerry continues the active engagement and makes an early visit to Southeast Asia.

There has been a basic continuity of engagement with the United States for more than 30 years, he said.

He also said that the United States and China are interdependent.

"We must recognize that competition is an intrinsic part of any great power relationship. Interdependence co-exists with strategic wariness," he said. "If tensions rise within them, this will unsettle the region."

The foreign minister also said that while global economic uncertainties remain, Singapore has worked hard to ensure that it is well-positioned to meet the challenges by working to strengthen ASEAN and building ties with its neighbors and major powers.

He said Singapore must continue to stay alert and nimble to respond to challenges and opportunities.

Shanmugam also reiterated that the Philippine decision to start arbitration proceedings against China was a national decision.

He said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was not consulted.

China has decided not to participate in the tribunal.

He also said it is important for ASEAN to regain unity and credibility by realizing community-building targets by the end of 2015 and retain its central role in the regional architecture.

He said Brunei's chairmanship of ASEAN this year will be crucial and that Singapore will work closely with others to ensure its chairmanship will be a success.