Chinese top official Han Zheng to visit Singapore for key annual bilateral meeting

Chinese vice-premier Han Zheng (above) will attend the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Sept 20, 2018.
Chinese vice-premier Han Zheng (above) will attend the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Sept 20, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Visiting Chinese vice-premier Han Zheng will attend the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean for the first time this Thursday (Sept 20), leading a delegation which includes senior officials, governors and mayors.

Mr Han, who was appointed to China's most powerful seven-member Politburo Standing Committee headed by President Xi Jinping last October, is expected to review the progress of bilateral cooperation between China and Singapore with Mr Teo and chart the direction of future partnerships.

Several deals will also be inked between the two countries. The Straits Times understands they will be in the areas of arts, research, intellectual property and entrepreneurship.

Singapore and China take turns to host the annual meeting, which is the highest-level forum for deepening ties between the two countries and into its 14th year. The two sides will also hold separate meetings to take stock of the three government-to-government projects - Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-city and Chongqing Connectivity Initiative - and discuss further developments, said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday (Sept 18).

Mr Han arrives in Singapore on Wednesday for a three-day visit. He will be hosted to a welcome dinner by Mr Teo, and a lunch the following day by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

During his visit, Mr Han will visit the Pasir Panjang terminal and Urban Redevelopment Authority.

On Friday, he will make courtesy calls on President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana.

Singapore has been China's top investor since 2013, and both countries share longstanding economic ties.

Mr Han was previously mayor and later party secretary of Shanghai, where he was born. Since March this year, he has been the first vice-premier of the State Council, or Cabinet. He also oversees Hong Kong and Macau affairs.