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Singapore-China Fast Lane will help ensure regional industrial chain: Singaporean ambassador

By Zhang Xinfeng (People's Daily Online)    09:30, June 23, 2020

Lui Tuck Yew, Singaporean Ambassador to China (Photo provided by Embassy of Singapore in China)

“The Singapore-China Fast Lane will help to ensure regional industrial chain and supply chain connectivity amidst COVID-19”, said Lui Tuck Yew, Singapore's Ambassador to China.

In a written interview with People’s Daily Online ahead of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Singapore, the ambassador answered questions concerning epidemic prevention and control strategy in Singapore, the China-Singapore Fast Lane arrangement, the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.

Singapore’ s epidemic prevention and control strategy

The ambassador noted that COVID-19 is the most serious health crisis the world has faced in a century and Singapore has adopted a rational, evidence-based approach, seeking to flatten the curve by containing the virus transmission in order to prevent the healthcare system being overwhelmed.

He said at the start of April, Singapore implemented stricter measures – known as the circuit breaker measures – to reduce the risks of further outbreaks. It uses technology to speed up contact tracing so that cases can be detected and contained quickly to prevent large clusters from forming. At the same time, Singapore also significantly expanded its testing capacity from 2,000 tests per day in early April, to the current 13,000 tests daily.

According to the ambassador, Singapore has now entered phase two of reopening its economy and society, in which most regular activities can resume with safe distancing measures in place. Singapore is also involved in a global effort to develop a vaccine and is building up manufacturing capacity so that production can be ramped up quickly once a vaccine is found.

He added that externally, Singapore is carefully easing travel restrictions and border controls by slowly allowing some business travel between countries through the creation of tightly controlled reciprocal green lanes with selected countries.

China-Singapore Fast Lane arrangement

On June 8, both sides officially launched the Fast Lane to facilitate essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries. The arrangement would be first applied between six Chinese provinces/municipalities and Singapore.

The ambassador also outlined the procedures that Chinese and Singaporean travelers using the Fast Lane need to follow. First, travelers will undergo pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 tests. They will also need to abide by existing measures such as health declarations and temperature screening prior to departure. Upon arrival, the host company or government agency will transport the traveler directly from the airport to the declared accommodation, where he/she must remain isolated for one to two days until the test result is released. Those who test negative will have to adhere to a controlled itinerary to minimize their exposure to the rest of the population.

He said the Singapore-China Fast Lane is the first of such arrangements that Singapore has launched with another partner, and will help to ensure the continuity of bilateral cooperation even as both sides continue to seek a balance between reopening and preventing further spread of COVID-19. The fast lane will help ensure supply chain connectivity amid COVID-19 as well as international cooperation and economic recovery.

30th anniversary

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Singapore. The ambassador declared that Singapore and China enjoy a close, multifaceted and longstanding relationship at the political, economic and people-to-people levels. The anniversary not only provides both sides with the opportunity to celebrate and commemorate the past but also provides a platform for both sides to look into new areas of cooperation.

He further added that Singaporean President Halimah Yacob has accepted an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping and looks forward to making a state visit to China.

According to the ambassador, both sides have been in close contact on ways to stem the spread of the virus, provide assistance to people and gradually restore normalcy to exchanges while managing the public health risks.

The ambassador also mentioned a series of commemorative activities that are set to take place both in Singapore and China, such as an exhibition of Tang Cargo in Shanghai, where thousand-year-old treasures from the ancient Silk Road will be on display. “We look forward to resuming our visits and exchanges, as well as exploring opportunities to deepen collaboration, particularly in the new areas of cooperation that have emerged in light of the pandemic,” he said.

International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC)

In 2015, China and Singapore launched their third inter-governmental cooperation project – the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity, with Chongqing as the operations centre. This year marks its 5th anniversary.

The ambassador pointed out that the ILSTC, under this project, has managed to mitigate the disruption caused by COVID-19 and has proven to be an effective new trade route between Southeast Asia and Western China. It has bolstered the resilience of our trade routes and supply chains, allowing for the smooth flow of essential goods such as food and medical products to support COVID-19 management efforts.

The 5th China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative (CCI) Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) Meeting was hosted on 12 May via videoconference. It witnessed the signing of eight Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) in sectors such as financial services, trade in food products, transport and logistics.

The ambassador said that as the CCI celebrates its 5th anniversary this year, we look forward to China’s continued support in making the CCI-ILSTC an open and attractive platform for more companies and partners to come on board. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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