Friday, 24 February 2017

Singapore - Isreal Bilateral Ties

ISRAEL AND SINGAPORE: THE TIES THAT BIND
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with visiting counterpart from Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong. (photo credit:HAIM ZACH/GPO)

Last week Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of tiny Singapore, paid an official visit to Israel. It was the first visit of its kind. Accompanied by ministers and businessmen, he and his host, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, issued statements praising the good relations and joint ventures between the two countries in the fields of hi-tech, cyber, water, environmental conservation and more.

Netanyahu also mentioned the first prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, who happens to be the father of the current one and is considered in his country as the founder of the republic. Netanyahu “forgot” to mention the first chief minister, David Marshall, who was a local Jew, whose legacy has been erased from Singaporean history books by the dictatorial regimes of father and son.

However, what was missing during the visit in all public declarations was the glue that binds the two countries. That glue, according to foreign reports, is the military, intelligence and security ties between the two countries. The ties are very close to the extent that Singapore has over five decades become a very important market for Israel’s military industries not only in Southeast Asia but on a global level, and a partner in joint research and development ventures of advanced weapon systems. The country attracts hundreds of former Israeli military and intelligence officers and hosts major security corporations such as Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems, in addition to the Israeli Embassy with its military attachés.

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Netanyahu: Israel and Singapore are ‘kindred spirits’
In joint press conference with counterpart Lee Hsien Loong, PM praises two small nations that have become ‘global powers’

Pime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Singaporean counterpart Monday that Israel and Singapore are “kindred spirits.”

Speaking at a press conference with Lee Hsien Loong in the city-state’s Istana palace, Netanyahu extolled the successes of the two countries.
“I believe that Israel and Singapore are kindred spirits,” he said. “We’re small nations that have become in many areas global powers.”
The prime minister also said that by working together, the two countries could continue to greater success.
“I believe that our cooperation makes us even more successful, cooperation in every field,” he said. “We have a joint R&D fund that has already funded 150 projects for Israeli and Singapore companies working together in a variety of fields, and I think that the opportunities are vast.”
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Israel-Singapore Relations: A Symbol of Global Solidarity

The relations between Singapore and Israel are rooted upon shared values and perceptions. The right of existence of small countries has always been mutually perceived as of vital importance, thus contributing to the formalization of the bilateral ties. And indeed, Israel has held a representation in Singapore since its earliest days, taking formal shape in 1968.

Other shared understandings include the comprehension of the necessity to develop wide international trade relations, in order to overcome geographical limitations. This shared view led to a significant growth in mutual cooperation. Singapore is a hub for Israeli business and regional trade, while a growing number of members of both business communities seek opportunities for joint operations in biotechnology, IT and software industries, where both countries relative advantages are most valuable. Several bilateral agreements provide a solid framework for substantiating cooperation in areas such as healthcare, investments and technological research & development, highlighting the Governments’ efforts to further deepen ties to the benefit of both peoples. Cultural exchange has been accentuated by encouraging the participation of Israeli artists in international events in Singapore, cultivating a broad interest in Israeli performing arts in areas such as dance, art, theatre and music. The yearly Film Festival has grown to become a cornerstone in the structured framework of activities.

Israel cherishes the long-standing friendship with Singapore as a symbol for global solidarity and support for human prosperity and world peace.

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ISRAEL AND SINGAPORE – OUT OF THE SHADOWS

In light of their warm ties it may seem strange that this was the first such visit, but for many decades the friendship was kept quiet, especially the extensive defense cooperation. Although it is always been kept low-key, Israel and Singapore have had a deep relationship for over 50 years. They cooperate extensively in commerce and defense trade, and share a profound political alliance whose roots can be traced back to the founding of Singapore in 1965. Today, that relationship is finally coming out of the closet.

This new openness was proudly on display during Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s April visit. While bilateral diplomatic relations were formally established in 1969, it was the first time a Singaporean prime minister had visited Israel. In light of their warm ties it may seem strange that this was the first such visit, but for many decades the friendship was kept quiet, especially the extensive defense cooperation.

The friendship began when Prime Minister Lee’s father, Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew, sought Israel’s help to enable Singapore to defend itself after it left the Malaysian Federation in 1965, and India, Egypt and Britain all declined.

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Israel, Singapore ‘old friends whose ties are expanding’: PM Lee
Isaeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu & PM Lee Hsien Loong. Foto: Koh Mui Fong

Israel & Singapore are “old friends” & bilateral ties that go back to 1965 have now expanded beyond defence & security, noted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (Feb 20).

During a joint press briefing with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Istana, Mr Lee noted that Israel is now the 2nd-largest contributor of foreign direct investment in Singapore from the Middle East.

“Our companies are active in each other’s countries,” he said, adding that Singtel &Temasek have made investments in Israel.

Singapore backs two-state solution for ‘just and durable’ peace

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PM Lee takes stock of Singapore's ties with Israel
PM Lee on a tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City in Jerusalem with Mrs Lee, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan & tour guide Yoram Mor yesterday. ST FOTO: MARK CHEONG

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Israel from Jordan yesterday, on the 2nd leg of his week-long trip to the Middle East.

His 1st stop here was the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he met its leadership and received an honorary doctorate.

Speaking at the ceremony & thanking them for the honour, he took stock of Singapore's long friendship with Israel, in particular the role it played in helping build a credible & professional Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

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Singapore Boosts Ties With Israel in Historic Visit

Earlier this month, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made his inaugural visit to Israel as part of a week-long Middle East working trip that also took him to Jordan. The trip underscored the mature relationship between Israel and Singapore, one founded on deep history as well as strong elite ties shaped by a shared historical narrative of geopolitical survival and the desire to prosper against the odds.

In part due sensitivities about how such a visit might be seen by Singapore’s larger, Muslim-majority neighbors, a visit by a Singaporean leader has never taken place despite the extremely close security cooperation between both countries. The visit is the first by a Singaporean Prime Minister since diplomatic ties were established between both countries in 1969.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who on April 19 received  Lee along with an approximately 60-person delegation including Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, termed the visit “historic” and said that it reflected a “coming-of-age” in bilateral relations. Netanyahu emphasized how both countries had overcome sizable odds and built dynamic and prosperous economies – Singapore from a micro-state with few natural resources and Israel from military threats to its very existence, thus allowing both states to “punch well above our (their) weight” in the international sphere. Netanyahu also expressed his admiration for Singapore’s late founding father Lee Kuan Yew, who he described as a “great statesman of the 20th century.”

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SINGAPORE PM OPEN ABOUT DEFENSE RELATIONSHIP WITH ISRAEL
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, April 19, 2016. (photo credit:HAIM ZACH/GPO)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong makes unusual public admission by an Asian country of a close military relationship with Israel. The burgeoning relations between Israel and Singapore were built on strong military ties, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Tuesday in an unusual public admission by an East Asian country of a close military relationship with the Jewish State.

“We have a long and deep relationship between Singapore and Israel,” Lee said before meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his Jerusalem office. “But really it all started with a defense relationship.

We are very grateful to Israel that when independence was thrust upon us in August 1965 and when Singapore’s security and survival were in doubt, you helped us. The IDF helped us to build up the Singapore Armed Forces when other countries turned us down.”


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OurCrowd expands into Asia with new Singapore office

International equity crowdfunding giant OurCrowd announced on Monday, that it has opened an office in Singapore in order to serve the growing demand by Asian investors to fund promising early stage technology companies. The company appointed successful entrepreneur and manager Denes Ban as managing partner in Asia and head of OurCrowd’s Singapore Management company.

“The goal of the expansion is double. One is to help local small and medium sized enterprises to get more funding, so we’ll be looking into some new and amazing deals in Singapore and the region. The other, is to help investors in the region to diversify and invest into global startups,” Ban told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Monday.

The Jerusalem based OurCrowd was handpicked for this task by the United Overseas Bank (UOB), which was looking to expand investment opportunities for its clients in the region. UOB then partnered with the Sassoon family and it’s investment corporation, SassCorp, a long time investor in OurCrowd, to pursue equity crowdfunding for startups in South-east Asia. This makes OurCrowd’s seventh international office outside of Israel.

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Netanyahu’s visit to Singapore

Considering the regional sensitivities, Singapore received the Prime Minister of Israel in a low key manner. Mr Netanyahu also did not have any large public appearances.

Israel assisted Singapore in 1965 in setting up its army, which has turned into one of the strongest militaries in this part of the world, lagging behind only China and India.

Some Christians in Singapore have linked a ‘fire rainbow’ which was visible in many parts of Singapore yesterday with divine approval of Singapore’s close ties with Israel. The multi-coloured fire rainbow which appeared for over 15 minutes across the island is a rare phenomenon which occurs when sunlight refracts through ice-crystal clouds. The appearance of the fire rainbow coincided with the first visit of a head of government from Israel in over 2 decades.

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PM of State of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu to make official visit for 2 days
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu at the Paris COP21, United nations conference on climate change from Shutterstock.com

Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has announced that Prime Minister of the State of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu will make an Official Visit to Singapore from 20 to 21 February 2017.

The Ministry said that an official welcome ceremony will be held for Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Istana on 20 February 2017.

PM Netanyahu will then call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam and meet with PM Lee Hsien Loong, adding that Lee will host an official dinner for Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Istana.

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Netanyahu embarks on first trip to Singapore
During trip aimed at strengthening economic and security ties, PM to meet with political leaders and local Jewish communities

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took off Sunday for a week-long trip to Singapore and Australia, becoming the first-ever sitting Israeli leader to visit these countries.

“We will strengthen security, economic and other ties with these countries,” he said at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting before he left the country. Netanyahu’s first stop is Singapore, where he will make his way to Istana, the small city-state’s presidential residence, for meetings with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

Last year, Lee became the first Singaporean prime minister to visit Israel.

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The security and religious factors behind Israeli PM Netanyahu's low-key visit to Singapore
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint press briefing with Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore. (Photo: Yahoo Singapore/Dhany Osman)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Singapore for Australia on Tuesday (21 February), signaling the end of a low-key visit to the Republic by one of the world’s most high-profile politicians.

In the days leading up to and during Netanyahu’s visit on Monday and Tuesday (20-21 February), there were few articles in mainstream media about the historic event – the first ever official visit by a sitting prime minister of Israel. The first mention of his planned visit came from Israeli media outlets, such as the Jerusalem Post, in October last year.

During his visit, Netanyahu held discussions with President Tony Tan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean. He also attended a dinner hosted by Lee, met members of the Jewish community in a synagogue, and visited the Toa Payoh estate.

related: Israel-Palestine issue is an ‘emotional’ one, especially for Muslims: PM Lee

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SINGAPORE KEEN ON KEEPING NETANYAHU VISIT RELATIVELY LOW PROFILE

Netanyahu was greeted by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a military honor guard. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Singapore early Monday morning and went immediately to the presidential palace for meetings with the city-state's president and prime minister.

Netanyahu was greeted by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a military honor guard. Despite the pomp and circumstance, the Singaporeans have requested a relatively low profile for the visit. The country is concerned that a very high profile visit could trigger angry protests in neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia, which are both Muslim majority nations. Though Netanyahu will meet with the small Jewish community in Singapore, he will not have any large public appearances.

Israel assisted Singapore in 1965 in setting up its army, which has turned into one of the strongest militaries in this part of the world, lagging behind only China and India.

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PPP: Dismay and disappointed over Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Goh Meng Seng, Secretary General of People's Power Party (PPP), has released a statement to express its dismay and dissapointment on the account that the Republic is hosting a state level visit with Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu for two days, starting on Monday (20 February).

The statement said that it is without doubt, that under the watch of its current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the State of Israel continues to brutalise its position as the unforgiving occupying power over Palestinian territories. Palestinian lands and private properties continue to be confiscated and forcefully vacated to make way for illegal settlements, violating international law and stands in contradiction against various UN charters and resolutions.

Mr Goh stated that by hosting Israeli Prime Minister, the country is running the risk of destroying the warm relationship with its neighbours and contradicting its international standing as a small open country which has championed the Rule of Law, upholding the International Law and an active advocate of the legitimacy of United Nations resolutions. He stressed that his visit could create an air of distrust and scepticism towards the Singapore’s consistency in its diplomatic commitment in promoting Rule of International Law.

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MALAYSIA’S IMPACT ON SINGAPORE-ISRAEL TIES
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inspects an honor guard with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana presidential palace in Singapore.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Singapore lives in constant fear of a Malaysian invasion; this fear has encouraged the tightening of the bond between Singapore and Israel. To understand the sensitivity of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s to Singapore on Monday, all one has to do is look at a map.

Singapore – a powerful city-state on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula – is surrounded by two large Muslim majority countries: Malaysia to the north, and Indonesia to the west and south. Malaysia is implacably anti-Israel, and Indonesia – though significantly less hostile – also does not have diplomatic ties with Israel and has the world’s largest Muslim population.

Geography is destiny, and ever since Malaysia expelled Singapore in 1965, the country has lived in fear of a Malaysian invasion; especially as it is a country with a booming, bustling economy, contrasted to the situation of its northern neighbor. It is that fear of Malaysia which led to extremely close ties between Singapore and Israel.

related: Singapore PM: Mideast is an emotional issue for Muslims in Southeast Asia

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Singapore backs two-state solution for ‘just and durable’ peace
Dinner hosted by PM Lee Hsien Loong for Mr Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in S'pore on Feb 20, 2017. Foto: Nuria Ling/TODAY

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Mon (Feb 20) reiterated his hopes for Israel & Palestine to resume direct negotiations, while adding that a two-state solution is the only way to bring “just and durable” peace.

“We have consistently believed that a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, however hard to achieve, is the only way to bring peace & security to both peoples,” he said during a joint press briefing with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Istana in the afternoon.

“I told the Prime Minister in Israel last year. We still hold that view.”

related: Israel, Singapore ‘old friends whose ties are expanding’: PM Lee


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PM Lee, in response to Pergas, reiterates commitment to 2-state solution in Middle East
Foto: Facebook/Singapore Islamic Scholars & Religious Teachers Association - Pergas

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has reiterated Singapore’s position on the Israel-Palestine issue, saying the Republic is convinced a 2-state solution is “the only way” to bring peace & security to both peoples.

He was responding to a Feb 17 letter sent to him by the Singapore Islamic Scholars & Religious Teachers Association (Pergas), which expressed its concern about the longstanding conflict and Israel’s settlement building in Palestinian territories.

In the letter, Pergas president Ustaz Mohamad Hasbi Hassan also asked Mr Lee to convey the concerns to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was an official visit to Singapore from Feb 20 & 21.

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Pergas wrote to PM Lee expressing concerns about Israel-Palestine conflict
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong (right) at a joint press briefing on Monday (20 February 2017)

The Singapore Islamic Scholars and Teachers Association (Pergas) has written to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to highlight the Muslim community’s concerns about the “situation in Palestine”, saying the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “regrettable and worrying”.

The letter, written in Malay and dated 17 February, expressed Pergas’ hopes that Lee would bring up the matter during the two-day official visit to Singapore by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday and Tuesday (20-21 February).

In the letter, the President of Pergas, Ustaz Hasbi Hassan, said, “Israel’s occupation has lowered the value of human lives. It has caused the lives of children, women and the elderly.

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Protest event against Illegal Israeli Settlements and letter to Israel’s Embassy, thwarted

Earlier this week on Monday, Osman Sulaiman had to reduce his protest against the visit of the Prime Minister of Israel to Singapore to just a post on his Facebook on 20 February, after being prevented from making a protest event. When he turned up at the Embassy of Israel in Singapore, the staff declined to receive his letter.

Osman wrote, “As the international community condemns and protests against Israel on its controversial law legalizing the building of settlements on West Bank, in Singapore, we are reduced to just handing a letter to its embassy.”

He had tried to apply permit for a protest of Netanyahu's visit to Singapore. Although he received a confirmation from NParks to proceed with the event, a day later, a police officer called him up to tell that the event requires a police permit which would take two weeks to process.

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Khan Osman Sulaiman on Monday

As the international community condemns and protests against Israel on its controversial law legalizing the building of settlements on West Bank, in Singapore, we are reduced to just handing a letter to its embassy.

We've tried applying for a protest of Netanyahu's visit to Singapore. Although we received a confirmation from NParks to proceed with our event, a day later, a police officer called me up to say that my event requires a police permit.

We were told that such permits would take 2 weeks to process. This effectively disqualifies our event from taking place as we had applied to hold the event less than 14 days.

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Israel–Singapore relations

Israel–Singapore relations are foreign relations between Israel and Singapore. Relations between the two countries are extremely cordial, and they are known to share a Special Relationship. Both countries established diplomatic relations in May 1969.[1] Israel has an embassy in Singapore. Singapore is represented in Israel by a non resident ambassador based in Singapore (in the Foreign Ministry) and through an honorary consulate in Tel Aviv.

The two nations enjoy an extensive security relationship, with Israeli and Singaporean arms industries engaging in joint development and a large level of military trade between the two countries. In 2005, the two countries signed a pact to ease the flow of goods and investments between the two countries during a visit to Israel by Singaporean Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong with members of the Israeli Cabinet as well as meeting Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.[3] In February 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli head of state to visit Singapore in 30 years.

Singapore was one of 41 countries that abstained from voting on the Resolution 67/19 on “Status of Palestine in the United Nations” by the United Nations General Assembly on 29 November 2012 which granted Non-Member Observer State status to Palestine. In explaining the reasons for Singapore’s abstention, Senior Minister Masagos Zulkifli stated that Singapore believes “that only a negotiated settlement consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242 can provide the basis for a viable, long term solution” and that “[b]oth sides have legitimate rights and shared responsibilities, and must be prepared to make compromises to achieve the larger good of a lasting peace

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Full Coverage:
Israel and Singapore: The ties that bind - Israel News - Jerusalem Post
Singapore PM open about defense relationship with Israel - Israel
Singapore, a military power in South Asia built on the Israeli
How is the relationship between Singapore and Israel? - Quora
Israel-Singapore Relations - Israeli Missions Around The World
Singapore Boosts Ties With Israel in Historic Visit | The Diplomat
The Singapore Story is the Israel Story – Tablet Magazine
The Singapore Story is the Israel Story – Tablet Magazine
Israel and Singapore: The ties that bind - Israel News
Singapore vs Israel - Country Facts Comparison
Compare Singapore To Israel - If It Were My Home
Chitchat Israel and Singapore - Similarities and Differences
Israel and Singapore Comparison - Examine Similarities
Israel–Singapore relations - Wikipedia
Blame the Latest Israel-Arab War on... Singapore? | The Huffington Post
MapFight - Israel vs Singapore size comparison
Singapore vs. Israel: Who's the better role model? | The Times of Israel
Was Iron Dome defense system actually built for Singapore? - Haaretz
Singapore, a military power in South Asia built on the Israeli ... - I24News
Iron Dome - Wikipedia
Israel and Singapore: The ties that bind - Israel News - Jerusalem Post
Singapore Buys Iron Dome Radar | Israel Defense
Singapore needs anti-missile defence system, Letters in Print News
Still No Sales for Israel's Iron Dome - Defense News
The Future of Singapore's Ground-Based Air Defense - Mindef
Singapore Army, Israelis proud! - www.hardwarezone.com.sg
Singapore's Version of Iron Dome | Whispers of Life
Israel and Singapore: The ties that bind - Israel News - Jerusalem Post
A deep, dark, secret love affair - Haaretz - Israel News | Haaretz.com
Israel–Singapore relations - Wikipedia
Bibi's Buddies: Singapore, Russia and Israel's Turn to the Right
Secret Military Alliance Between Singapore and Israel Revealed
Blame the Latest Israel-Arab War on... Singapore? | The Huffington Post
Israel apologises for 'deplorable' use of Singapore flag as tablecloth
Lee Kuan Yew & Singapore-Israel 'Special Relationship' | International
Senang Diri: Singapore's "stealth fighters"
Singapore: Small state, big weapons buyer - Al Jazeera English

Related:
Singapore - Isreal Bilateral Ties
Singapore - China Bilateral Ties
Singapore-India Relations
Singapore-China-US Relations
"Singapore - US" Bilateral Ties