Vivian Balakrishnan encourages greater engagement, dialogue by all sides in meeting with Antony Blinken

PHNOM PENH – Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has called for greater engagement among senior leaders and more discussions by all sides to build trust, in light of recent developments in the Taiwan Strait.

He made these points in a meeting with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday (Aug 5), Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said.

“Minister Balakrishnan and Secretary Blinken discussed regional and global issues, including US-China relations and recent developments in the Taiwan Strait,” MFA said in a statement.

“Minister Balakrishnan emphasised the need to avoid miscalculation and accidents, which could lead to an escalatory spiral and destabilise the region. He encouraged greater engagement by the senior leadership and dialogue by all sides to build strategic trust,” the statement added.

Both ministers were in Phnom Penh for the 55th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings.

The meeting came as US-China tensions continued to rise. China on Friday announced that it would suspend cooperation with the US on a range of issues, including talks on climate change, following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Tuesday (Aug 2) and Wednesday.

During their meeting, Dr Balakrishnan and Mr Blinken reaffirmed the excellent and longstanding partnership between Singapore and the US, MFA said.

“There is good momentum in high-level exchanges, including visits by Prime Minister Lee to the US and working visits to Singapore by several Cabinet Secretaries to Singapore,” it added.

Dr Balakrishnan also invited Secretary Blinken to visit Singapore.

He welcomed the US’ continued and constructive engagement in the region, and looked forward to the early conclusion of an open, inclusive and flexible Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), the ministry said.

The trade initiative, launched in May, currently has 14 member countries and seeks to deepen engagement on agreed standards in four main areas: the digital economy, supply chains, clean energy infrastructure and anti-corruption measures.

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