33rd Asean Summit

China, Singapore agree to deepen ties in various areas

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is on an official visit to Singapore, met President Halimah Yacob yesterday. In a joint statement, Singapore and China said they would build on the foundations laid by past generations of leaders from both sides and ma
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is on an official visit to Singapore, met President Halimah Yacob yesterday. In a joint statement, Singapore and China said they would build on the foundations laid by past generations of leaders from both sides and maintain frequent high-level exchanges.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Singapore-China relations have been "progressive, forward-looking and strategic", and leaders from both countries have committed to working closer together in a wide range of areas, from science and technology to trade and culture.

In a six-page joint statement yesterday, the two governments said they would build on the foundations laid by past generations of leaders from both sides and maintain frequent high-level exchanges.

They also vowed to keep to the principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

Singapore will also maintain its consistent "one China" policy.

The statement comes as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is on an official visit to Singapore. Premier Li held talks with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday and met President Halimah Yacob yesterday.

The joint statement said: "Both sides discussed the progress of cooperation in various fields, the future direction of bilateral relations, and exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest."

The statement singled out China's Belt and Road Initiative as a new highlight of Sino-Singapore relations, with both sides committing to working closer together in developing infrastructure and financial connectivity, as well as legal and judicial cooperation.

 
 
 
 

The newly renamed China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, formerly known as the CCI Southern Transport Corridor; and a third-party collaboration project will be "new highlights in our bilateral cooperation", it said.

Bilateral economic and trade ties have also reached "new heights" after the two countries inked an upgrade to the 2009 China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement on Monday.

They will continue to develop Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-city and Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, including replicating them elsewhere.

The statement also took stock of other agreements signed on Monday, which will see both sides collaborating in areas such as financial supervision, fintech, cultural exchanges, urban governance, scientific research, environmental protection and disaster management and emergency rescue.

On defence, they committed to having more high-level visits and exchanges at conferences such as the Shangri-La Dialogue hosted by Singapore and the Beijing Xiangshan Forum organised by China.

The two militaries will also conduct a bilateral exercise next year and refresh the Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation signed in 2008. The defence pact allows for activities such as exchanges of visits, attendance of courses and seminars by officers from both sides, and port calls.

Premier Li also invited PM Lee to next year's 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. PM Lee has accepted the invitation, the statement said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2018, with the headline 'China, Singapore agree to deepen ties in various areas'. Print Edition | Subscribe