Singapore's leaders exchange congratulatory messages with China to mark 25 years of diplomatic ties

Mr Xi (left) and PM Lee in November 2010. Oct 3 will mark 25 years of diplomatic ties between Singapore and China.
Mr Xi (left) and PM Lee in November 2010. Oct 3 will mark 25 years of diplomatic ties between Singapore and China.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's leaders on Friday (Oct 2) exchanged congratulatory messages with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Singapore and China established diplomatic relations on Oct 3, 1990.

In his letter, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said that China is Singapore's largest trade partner and the volume of bilateral trade between the two has increased more than twenty-fold since 1990.

Over the 25 years, "our relations have flourished and the friendship between our two peoples has never been stronger," he added. "I am confident that our partnership will continue to strengthen as we advance towards the golden jubilee of Singapore-China diplomatic relations."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his letter to Premier Li, noted that Singapore and China have always shared a long-standing and special friendship.

"We have forged a close and mutually beneficial partnership, which has kept up with the times and spans wide-ranging fields."

The warm friendship extends beyond bilateral ties. Singapore has always supported closer integration between China and the international community, Mr Lee wrote.

"We have also cooperated successfully in forging closer relations between Asean and China, to the benefit of both China and our region," he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, in his letter to Vice-Premier Zhang, pointed to the many institutional mechanisms and platforms for bilateral cooperation, such as the high-level Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation.

Citing the substantive upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and another project in China's western region, both of which are in the pipeline, Mr Teo said: "Together, these two initiatives represent the further strengthening of our relationship."

Here are the letters in full:

Letter from President Tony Tan Keng Yam to President Xi Jinping

3 October 2015

His Excellency Xi Jinping

President

People's Republic of China

Your Excellency,

Today, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Singapore and the People's Republic of China. Our diplomatic 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.

China is Singapore's largest trading partner. Between 1990 and 2014, the volume of bilateral trade increased more than twenty-fold. Singapore's cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) into China totalled US$72.3 billion at the end of 2014. Since 2013, Singapore has been China's largest foreign investor. In 1990, our peoples made about 100,000 trips between both countries. Last year, almost 2.7 million trips were made.

I look forward to working with you to build on this solid foundation to further deepen and expand our cooperation to bring greater benefits to our peoples in the next 25 years and beyond. I am confident that our partnership will continue to strengthen as we advance towards the golden jubilee of Singapore-China diplomatic relations.

I wish Your Excellency continued good health and every success, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Yours sincerely,

TONY TAN KENG YAM

Letter from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Premier Li Keqiang

3 October 2015

His Excellency Li Keqiang

Premier of the State Council

People's Republic of China

Dear Premier Li,

I would like to extend my best wishes to you, your Government, and the people of China on the auspicious occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Singapore and the People's Republic of China.

Singapore-China relations are excellent. Our two countries have always shared a long-standing and special friendship. Our bilateral cooperation has grown by leaps and bounds since our formal establishment of diplomatic ties in 1990. We have forged a close and mutually beneficial partnership, which 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.

Our warm friendship also extends beyond our bilateral relationship. In multilateral fora, Singapore has always supported closer integration between China and the international community. We have also cooperated successfully in forging closer relations between Asean and China, to the benefit of both China and our region.

I look forward to working closely with you and your Government as we embark on the next 25 years of our partnership.

Yours sincerely,

LEE HSIEN LOONG

Letter from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean to Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli

3 October 2015

His Excellency Zhang Gaoli

Vice-Premier of the State Council

People's Republic of China

Dear Vice-Premier Zhang,

I would like to convey my warmest wishes on this joyous occasion of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Singapore and the People's Republic of China.

Building on a shared commitment to deepening mutual understanding, our two countries have progressively built up many institutional mechanisms for bilateral cooperation, which I have the pleasure of co-chairing with Your Excellency. The Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) stands at the apex of these platforms. It has seen much progress over the years. The Joint Steering Councils for the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin Eco-City have also played a critical role in nurturing our two Government-to-Government projects into models for bilateral cooperation. Other platforms like the Singapore-China Leadership Forum and Singapore-China Social Governance Forum also contribute to the two-way exchange of ideas. These platforms have allowed us to broaden the scope of our bilateral cooperation for mutual benefit.

We also have exciting new initiatives in the pipeline. The substantive upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement will be a testament to how both countries constantly ensure that existing platforms remain relevant to business needs. The third Government-to-Government project in China's Western Region reflects both countries' commitment to take our bilateral relationship to a higher level by continually exploring policy innovations and breakthroughs. Together, these two initiatives represent the further strengthening of our relationship.

I look forward to hosting you and your delegation for the upcoming meetings of the JCBC and the two Joint Steering Councils. I wish you good health and success.

Yours sincerely,

TEO CHEE HEAN