DPM Teo in China on nine-day visit

Visit aims to boost bilateral ties and step up Singapore's role in the Belt and Road project

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean is in China for a wide-ranging, nine-day visit that will take in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangxi, Chongqing and Gansu.

Mr Teo will meet key Chinese leaders including Vice-Premier Han Zheng today at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The visit aims to boost bilateral ties through cooperation in three government-to-government (G2G) projects and Singapore's involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative.

In an interview with Xinhua news agency, Mr Teo said he will discuss the agenda for the 14th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation with Mr Han, his new co-chair for the highest-level forum between China and Singapore.

The annual meeting is slated to take place in Singapore in the next few months. Premier Li Keqiang is also expected to make an official visit to Singapore.

Said Mr Teo: "Both sides are laying the groundwork for a substantive meeting."

Noting that Singapore and China have enjoyed a strong friendship for 40 years that has progressed with the times, Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, expressed confidence in deepening collaboration.

He said: "I believe we can break new ground through cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, and take our relations to greater heights.

After Beijing, Mr Teo will visit the Tianjin Eco-City, where he will see urban water conservation initiatives like "sponge city".

Tianjin Eco-City marks its 10th anniversary this year.

Mr Teo will also visit key nodes along the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative-Southern Transport Corridor (CCI-STC), including Chongqing, Guangxi and Gansu.

The CCI-STC is the latest G2G project between the two countries. It aims to cut goods freight times between western China, South-east Asia and the rest of the world by using rail and new sea lines between Qinzhou and Singapore.

Said Mr Teo: "As one of the world's busiest trans-shipment hubs with connections to 600 ports globally, I see Singapore playing a key part in extending this CCI-STC to international markets beyond the region.

"This will help to catalyse overall economic development in western China and attract more foreign and local companies to expand their presence there through Chongqing."

In Gansu, Mr Teo will deliver the keynote speech at the 24th China Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair, which has designated Singapore as country-of-honour.

Accompanying him are National Development Minister and Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry Tan Wu Meng, and senior officials.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2018, with the headline 'DPM Teo in China on nine-day visit'. Print Edition | Subscribe