Singapore to promote stronger Asean-China cooperation: PM Lee Hsien Loong

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang welcoming Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong at the start of the latter's official three-day visit to Beijing, on Sept 19, 2017. PHOTO: MCI

BEIJING - Singapore will promote stronger Asean-China cooperation during its chairmanship of the regional grouping next year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at a meeting with Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday (Sept 19), the first day of his visit to China.

Both leaders touched on Asean-China ties, and affirmed the progress made during Singapore's ongoing tenure as country coordinator for Asean-China dialogue relations, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said after the meeting.

"Premier Li expressed support for Singapore's Asean chairmanship in 2018," the PMO added.

Mr Li said that he hoped Singapore would help to bring new vitality to Asean-China ties.

PM Lee said he was glad for the opportunity for both sides to discuss how to work together for the regional context and for Asean, and hoped Singapore can make a contribution to bring Asean and China closer together.

On Tuesday, PM Lee received a ceremonial welcome from Premier Li before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

They discussed regional developments, and expressed their deep concern over the heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Mr Li also accepted PM Lee's invitation to visit Singapore at the earliest mutually convenient time.

At the meeting were Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, and Parliamentary Secretary Amrin Amin.

Mr Li was joined by Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission He Lifeng, Housing and Urban-Rural Development Minister Wang Menghui, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, and Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui.

PM Lee said in a Facebook post after a banquet last night that the meeting was "fruitful", adding: "Will do our best to bring Asean and China closer together."

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