Chinese premier Li Keqiang accepts PM Lee Hsien Loong's invitation to visit Singapore

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam (left) called on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday in Dalian, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s Summer Davos meeting.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam (left) called on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday in Dalian, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s Summer Davos meeting. PHOTO: XINHUA

In a sign of warmer ties, China's Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday he has accepted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's invitation to make an official visit to Singapore.

Mr Li told Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who conveyed the invitation, that he looked forward to the visit, the Prime Minister's Office said, without providing a date.

Mr Tharman had called on Mr Li yesterday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's Summer Davos meeting in Dalian.

At their meeting, Mr Tharman conveyed the Singapore people's and leaders' concern to those affected by last Saturday's landslide in Sichuan that left at least 15 dead and more than 100 still missing.

Mr Li thanked him for Singapore's expression of concern.

Both leaders also agreed on three specific areas where Singapore and China can cooperate more closely to take bilateral ties to the next phase.

 

These are closer collaboration on China's Belt and Road Initiative, such as through the government-to-government Chongqing project, speeding up the conclusion of free trade agreements involving both countries, and promoting stronger Asean-China ties in the years ahead.

Singapore is the coordinator of Asean-China dialogue relations, and will also become Asean chair next year.

Mr Li's trip will be his first official visit to Singapore as China's Premier.

He met the Prime Minister in Vientiane last September on the sidelines of the Asean Summit.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2017, with the headline 'Chinese Premier Li accepts PM Lee's invitation to visit S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe