PM Lee Hsien Loong’s Remarks on China’s application to the CPTPP

SM Lee Hsien Loong | 13 November 2022

Excerpt of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s media wrap-up with Singapore media following the close of the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and Related Summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 13 November 2022.


CNA Digital: PM, you met Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of ASEAN. It was reported from the meeting that the outcome of China's application to CPTPP is already known. Can you comment on this?

PM Lee: No, it is not known. The CPTPP is by design an open and inclusive agreement. And therefore we welcome any expression of interest in the CPTPP. But of course to join the CPTPP, to accede, there are procedures, there are rules and regulations and they are all clearly spelled out in the CPTPP agreement. So therefore, Singapore has said that we support China's interest in joining the CPTPP in principle.

Of course, China will have to meet the high standards which are expected of all the members but that is something which has to be established and worked out between China and all the members of the CPTPP. Because on all matters to do with accession, the decision is made by a consensus of all the existing members of the partnership and particularly, the formal decision to start the accession process depends on consensus amongst the partners.

So therefore what China has to do is to engage the partners individually and talk to them and work out any issues they may have with the partners individually, which I think even if you read the newspapers you will know that they have some issues with some of the CPTPP countries and if that process is completed, then, if there is a consensus it can go ahead.

Singapore this year, we happen to be the chair of the committee. So as chair we will carry out our role objectively and impartially and do our duty as chair. And that is how it has to work, and that is our public position. I have stated it several times. And when I met Premier Li Keqiang I explained it to him again.