Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean met Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng in Beijing yesterday, where they discussed the agenda for the upcoming annual meeting of the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) and ways to strengthen cooperation between Singapore and China.
The leaders reaffirmed the longstanding, strong and substantive relations between the two countries and had a broad discussion on the extensive bilateral cooperation, including the good progress made in three government-to-government projects, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.
They also agreed there is scope for both sides to learn from each other and exchange views on developmental experiences and looked forward to the conclusion of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement upgrade this year and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as soon as possible. This will send a strong signal of the joint commitment to free trade, said the MFA.
Mr Teo is the Singapore co-chair of the JCBC, the highest-level forum for deepening ties between Singapore and China, while Mr Han is the new co-chair on the Chinese side. At their meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Mr Teo said he looked forward to jointly shaping the agenda of the coming meeting with Mr Han. This year's JCBC meeting is slated to take place in Singapore in September.
"The JCBC has been an important platform for 15 years to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between China and Singapore," said Mr Teo.
"I'd like to take the opportunity today to have a discussion with you and hear your views on how you think we can take this cooperation forward, and how we can shape the agenda of the JCBC to bring this cooperation to new heights."
Mr Han thanked Mr Teo for his long-time contributions to growing bilateral ties, and recalled that their last meeting in Shanghai three years ago was very positive.
"From that meeting, I could tell how much importance you attach to growing relations with China," he said. Mr Han said he "would like to work together closely with (Mr Teo) to further advance (bilateral) cooperation in various areas".
Mr Teo, who is on a nine-day visit to China, will travel to Tianjin today. He will tour parts of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, a government-to-government project that celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.