PM Lee shares views on 3rd govt-to-govt project with China

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday exchanged views with China’s Executive Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on Beijing’s proposal for a third government-to-government project. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAO BAO
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday exchanged views with China’s Executive Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on Beijing’s proposal for a third government-to-government project. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAO BAO

He discusses areas of collaboration with senior Chinese leaders

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday met senior Chinese leaders in Nanning to discuss areas of Sino-Singapore collaboration ahead of the 11th annual China- Asean Expo.

Singapore is the country of honour at this year's expo.

Mr Lee exchanged views with Executive Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on China's proposal for a third government-to-government project in the western region, said a statement from the Prime Minister's press secretary. 

Mr Lee had earlier told Guangdong's Nanfang Daily that the project must fit in with China's priorities, be fully supported by the local authorities, and commercially viable. 

Mr Zhang co-chairs the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) with Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. It is the highest platform for  bilateral exchange between the two countries.

The JCBC will meet later this year in coastal Suzhou city to mark the 20th anniversary of the Suzhou Industrial Park, the first bilateral flagship project.

The proposed third government-to-government project will likely figure on the JCBC agenda as well.

The two leaders yesterday also discussed the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Singapore-China diplomatic relations next year, including the exchange of state visits by President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. 

With close cooperation in the two government-to-government projects (Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city) as well as the private sector-led Guangzhou Knowledge City, relations between Singapore and China are excellent, affirmed both leaders.

Mr Lee visited Guangzhou Knowledge City for the first time last week during the Guangdong leg of his week-long tour of southern China.

After his meeting with Mr Zhang yesterday, Mr Lee toured some Singapore companies' exhibition booths at the annual trade fair. He also met Guangxi party secretary Peng Qinghua.

Mr Peng noted that Singapore- Guangxi trade, which reached US$660 million (S$835 million) last year, a 172 per cent year-on- year increase, is on the rise. There are more than 180 Singapore companies invested in Guangxi. 

He also proposed greater collaboration between Singapore and Guangxi in three areas - port management, organisation of conferences and exhibitions, and financial services - noting that these are where Guangxi wants to learn from Singapore. 

Today, Mr Lee will deliver the keynote speech at the expo's opening ceremony and officiate at the opening of the Singapore Pavilion together with Vice-Premier Zhang.

Mr Lee will then hold a round-table dialogue with Chinese businessmen before leaving for Hong Kong, the last stop of his trip. 

rchang@sph.com.sg