S'pore leaders send best wishes on China's 67th anniversary

Singapore's leaders have written to their Chinese counterparts to convey their best wishes on the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

In his congratulatory message to President Xi Jinping, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said China has made remarkable progress since its founding, and has emerged as an important player on the international stage, and a key driver of the global economy in recent years.

"The successful conclusion of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou yielded many important outcomes and is a clear manifestation of China's contributions to global economic governance," he added.

Dr Tan noted that Singapore and China enjoy a long-standing and warm friendship, and that both sides had a successful exchange of state visits last year to commemorate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

The visits also saw Singapore and China step up their partnership and establish an All Round Cooperative Partnership Progressing With The Times. This agreement "reflects the unique characteristic of our countries' strong bilateral cooperation", Dr Tan added.

The Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative, negotiations to upgrade the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement by the end of this year, and other initiatives will break new ground in bilateral ties and take relations to greater heights, he said.

He said: "Under your leadership, I am confident that China will play an even more important role on the international stage and contribute to regional peace and prosperity."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also conveyed his congratulations in a message to Premier Li Keqiang.

Mr Lee said China's peaceful development over the decades has brought enormous benefits to the Chinese people and contributed greatly to the region and the world.

"The friendship between Singapore and China has strengthened over the years," he said.

"Our bilateral cooperation is multi-faceted and has developed with the changing priorities and needs of our two countries."

Since 2013, Singapore has been China's largest foreign investor, while China has been Singapore's largest trading partner.

Mr Lee noted the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative launched last year - the third government-led project - supports China's "One Belt, One Road", Yangtze River Economic Belt, and Western Region Development initiatives. He also looked forward to working with Mr Li to further broaden and deepen bilateral relations.

Singapore and China have also worked closely and well at regional and multilateral fora, particularly in Asean, said Mr Lee.

"As the Country Coordinator for Asean-China dialogue relations, Singapore will continue to take a positive, principled and objective approach in working with fellow Asean members and China to promote Asean-China cooperation," he said.

Mr Lee added that he looks forward to welcoming Mr Li to Singapore at a mutually convenient time.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore leaders send best wishes on China's 67th anniversary'. Print Edition | Subscribe