China and Singapore strengthen military alliance in bilateral maritime exercises

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army completed a joint naval exercise on Monday, per Channel News Asia. This comes after the two countries were unable to execute bilateral exercises due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Singapore’s Defense Ministry (MINDEF) said: “During the course of the exercise, personnel from both navies trained together in various competencies.”

The report noted that soldiers from both countries took part in planning exercises, exchanges, and collaborative training at the Damage Control Trainer. They also trained in a range of serials, including helicopter cross-deck landing, as well as search and rescue.

Colonel Ng Kok Yeng Daniel said: “This exercise is an important milestone between our two navies. It marks the resumption of our exercises following the period of Covid-19 restrictions.”

"Exercise Maritime Cooperation 2023 provided the valuable opportunity to learn from each other, strengthen our mutual trust and understanding.”

MINDEF also noted that the series of exercises forms the foundation of the “warm and friendly bilateral defense relations” that the two countries share.

"Besides bilateral exercises, the two armed forces also interact regularly through high-level exchanges, mutual visits, cross-attendance of courses and port calls," the ministry said.

MINDEF reported that the Exercise Maritime Cooperation began in 2015, noting that the “two armed forces also interact regularly through high-level exchanges, mutual visits, cross-attendance of courses and port calls.”

The exercises come amid ongoing tensions in Taiwan, where China has consistently executed military exercises in the area. Beijing had deployed warships and aircraft around Taiwan after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited the US to meet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in early April.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also blocked Taiwan’s US ambassador from visiting the mainland last month, in an attempt to express its disapproval of Taiwan’s dealings with the West. However, Taiwan has refused to give in, insisting that they are a sovereign nation that is not beholden to Beijing.


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