Singapore, China mark 25 years of diplomatic relations

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have sent congratulatory messages to their counterparts in Beijing to mark the 25th anniversary of Singapore-China diplomatic ties today.

Dr Tan, in his letter to President Xi Jinping, said these ties "were founded upon a rich and longstanding historical friendship which dates back long before 1990".

"Our pioneer leaders, particularly Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Deng Xiaoping, laid a strong foundation for the bilateral relationship in the 1970s. Over a short span of 25 years, our relations have flourished and the friendship between our two peoples has never been stronger."

Dr Tan noted that China is Singapore's largest trading partner, with trade growing more than twenty-fold between 1990 and 2014.

Singapore's cumulative foreign direct investment in China totalled US$72.3 billion (S$103.6 billion) at end-2014, and Singapore is China's largest foreign investor since 2013.

In 1990, their peoples made about 100,000 trips between their countries. Last year, they made almost 2.7 million trips.

Dr Tan said he looked forward to working with Mr Xi to further deepen and strengthen the partnership.

PM Lee, in his letter to Premier Li Keqiang, said both countries "have always shared a longstanding and special friendship" and their close and mutually beneficial partnership has kept up with the times and spans wide-ranging fields.

"Our economic ties are robust, anchored by deep mutual understanding, common interests and strong people-to-people ties," he wrote.

This extends to multilateral fora, at which Singapore has always supported closer integration between China and the international community, PM Lee added. "We have also cooperated successfully in forging closer relations between Asean and China, to the benefit of both China and our region," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also wrote to Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, who co-chairs the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) with him.

Mr Teo noted that both countries have built up many institutional mechanisms for cooperation, including the joint steering councils for the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin Eco-City that play a critical role in nurturing both projects as models for bilateral cooperation.

He added that both countries have exciting new initiatives ahead: The substantive upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the third Government-to-Government project in China's western region.

Mr Teo said he looked forward to hosting Mr Zhang and his delegation for the upcoming meetings of the JCBC and steering councils.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2015, with the headline 'Singapore, China mark 25 years of diplomatic relations'. Print Edition | Subscribe