Heng Swee Keat and Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam reaffirm ties, seek closer cooperation

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the Government House in Hong Kong on May 29, 2019. PHOTO: MCI

HONG KONG - Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat met Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Wednesday (May 29) to reaffirm good relations between the two cities and discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in existing and new areas.

Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, and Mrs Lam noted that both cities share many common interests and cooperate well in a number of areas including education and finance.

For example, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) hosted a team from its Hong Kong counterpart in Singapore for a study visit last week.

Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources and Health Amy Khor also visited Hong Kong last year to study waste management practices.

On Wednesday, Mr Heng and Mrs Lam also touched on how Singapore and Hong Kong can strengthen cooperation in areas such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the Belt and Road Initiative.

In a statement from the Chief Executive's Office, Mrs Lam said during the meeting that the people-to-people exchanges and trade ties between Hong Kong and Singapore have always been close and that the two places share similar backgrounds and developments.

She added that both countries are among the most competitive economies in the world and have a lot to learn from each other.

Pointing out that Hong Kong is committed to developing innovation and technology and has devoted substantial resources, Mrs Lam expressed the hope to explore more collaboration in areas such as biotech, fintech and start-ups with research centres, education institutes and enterprises in Singapore, the statement said.

During their discussions, Mrs Lam also expressed appreciation for Singapore's support for Asean-Hong Kong cooperation.

She said she believes that with the support of the Economic and Trade Offices in Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok, the development of Hong Kong and Asean will be further strengthened and relations between the two places will be taken to a new level.

On Tuesday, Mr Heng was hosted to dinner by Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan, with the pair exchanging views on the global economic outlook and the latest financial developments such as fintech.

Mr Heng was accompanied on the trip by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat.

Before his 24-hour visit to Hong Kong, Mr Heng spent eight days in China, his first visit there since becoming Deputy Prime Minister earlier this month.

He flew to Tokyo on Wednesday to attend the 25th Nikkei Conference.

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