Singapore-China ties 'warm and progressing', says DPM Tharman

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Chinese Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, China on March 25, 2019.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Chinese Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, China on March 25, 2019.ST PHOTO: DANSON CHEONG

BEIJING - Ties between Singapore and China are "warm and progressing", Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Monday (March 25) while on a visit to Beijing.

At a meeting with Chinese Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan, Mr Tharman pointed to the steady tempo of visits between the two countries, noting that both Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and DPM Teo Chee Hean will visit China next month.

"As you have said, our relationship is not only warm but it is progressing," he said in his opening remarks to the Chinese vice-premier.

Mr Tharman, who is on a five-day visit to China, met Madam Sun at Ziguang Ge, or Hall of Purple Light, within the Zhongnanhai leadership compound.

The hall is located within the Forbidden City and was once the venue where Chinese Emperor Qianlong feted loyal officials and generals. The hall is now used by Chinese leaders to receive foreign guests.

Madam Sun said that China and Singapore were "friendly neighbours and critical cooperation partners", and that Mr Tharman too, was China's good friend.

"Our bilateral relationship enjoys good public support and frequent high-level visits," she added.

Also at the meeting were senior Chinese officials including deputy secretary-general of the State Council Ding Xiangyang and assistant foreign minister Chen Xiaodong.

Mr Tharman is expected to leave Beijing for Singapore early on Tuesday morning.

During his visit, Mr Tharman spoke at the annual China Development Forum, a gathering of Chinese leaders, as well as business and academic elites. He also met other Chinese leaders and companies, including governor of the People's Bank of China Yi Gang.