Sino-S'pore ties must advance with the times: Heng Swee Keat

Relations between Singapore and China need to advance with the times, and the latter's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is one key area that holds great potential for cooperation, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has said.

In particular, the financial sector holds special promise in this regard, said Mr Heng. He was speaking to Chinese state news agency Xinhuanet in an recent interview ahead of his working visit to China today.

"We hope that through such cooperation, we will further deepen and advance with the times, the all-round cooperative partnership between our two countries," he said, adding that this was key to take bilateral relations to a higher level.

He was responding to a question on how Singapore and China can further learn from each other and develop new areas of cooperation.

The BRI is an ambitious plan to build infrastructure and establish trade routes to connect China to Asia and beyond.

In the interview, Mr Heng also discussed China-Asean relations, e-payments and the internationalisation of the yuan.

The matter of the yuan was a major highlight of cooperation between China and Singapore, he said, adding that Singapore was willing to "continue to work closely with China" to explore new ways to promote the internationalisation of the Chinese currency.

Mr Heng arrives in Nanjing today for a working visit to China, during which he will attend a number of engagements and will meet top Chinese leaders, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said yesterday.

He will also travel to Shanghai and Beijing, where he is expected to meet top leaders such as Vice-Premiers Han Zheng and Liu He, and his finance counterpart Liu Kun.

In Nanjing, Mr Heng is expected to meet the city's mayor Lan Shaomin. He will also be delivering the opening address at the inaugural Sino Singapore Artificial Intelligence Forum tomorrow.

On Monday, he will visit Nanjing University and speak to students and faculty there on Singapore-China relations, leadership and governance, said an MOF statement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2018, with the headline 'Sino-S'pore ties must advance with the times: Heng Swee Keat'. Print Edition | Subscribe