On Thursday (Dec 7), Singapore and China announced plans to establish a reciprocal 30-day visa waiver agreement between the two countries. This decision comes as air connectivity improves in the wake of the pandemic.
The announcement of the proposal was made at the 19th meeting of the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), the highest-level annual forum for bilateral cooperation between the two countries, where several other agreements will also be signed.
This was the first JCBC meeting since the two countries upgraded bilateral relations earlier this year. The meeting was co-chaired by Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and China's Deputy Prime Minister Ding Xuexiang.
During the meeting, Mr. Wong said that the new policy will open up more opportunities for people-to-people exchanges, which will strengthen the foundation of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Mr. Wong also expressed Singapore's hope to surpass the pre-pandemic level of direct air links. To date, the number of Singapore-China flights has reached 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
However, further information on the details of the visa-free agreement, including its timing and implementation procedures, has not been disclosed.
Currently, Chinese citizens must obtain a visa to enter Singapore. Singaporeans with ordinary passports can enter China without a visa for 15 days for business, leisure, family visits, or transit. The policy was only reinstated by China in July after being suspended for more than three years due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement of the new policy comes after Singapore and China upgraded their relationship to an “All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented Partnership”, following Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's official visit to Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in March.