Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean paid tribute to the late former Chinese vice-premier Qian Qichen yesterday, calling him an "old friend of Singapore".
Mr Qian, who died on May 9 at age 89, played a key role in the establishment of diplomatic ties between Singapore and China, Mr Teo said in his keynote address at the Singapore-China Forum on Leadership.
The late leader also made extraordinary contributions in developing China's relations with the international community and helped establish Asean-China ties, he added.
Mr Qian was the first Chinese foreign minister to attend an Asean meeting.
Singapore and China formalised ties in 1990, when Mr Qian and then Singapore Foreign Minister Wong Kan Seng signed agreements to establish relations.
"The agreements arrived at laid the foundation for the strong ties and extensive cooperation our two countries enjoy today," said Mr Teo. "His legacy will be fondly remembered by Singaporeans."