PM Lee Hsien Loong, DPM Teo Chee Hean congratulate Chinese and Hong Kong leaders on 20th anniversary of HK's handover

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves after a variety show, as part of the celebration for the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written to Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean has written to Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam, to congratulate them on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 2017.

PM Lee extend his "warmest congratulations on the joyous occasion of the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR)", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement on Saturday (July 1).

Mr Lee said that Hong Kong, over the past 20 years, has thrived and prospered under the "One Country, Two Systems" framework.

Under this special arrangement, Mr Lee said, Hong Kong has been able to ride on China's extensive economic and developmental opportunities, while enjoying a high degree of autonomy under the Basic Law promulgated by the National People's Congress, or Chinese Parliament.

"This has brought immense benefits to the Hong Kong people. I am confident that with the strong support of the Central Government, Hong Kong will continue to grow from strength-to-strength and the Hong Kong people will enjoy greater peace, stability and prosperity," Mr Lee said.

Singapore's close relations with Hong Kong "are underpinned by strong economic ties and frequent high-level exchanges," he said.

Cooperation between Singapore and China also continues to deepen, he added.

"Our third Government-to-Government project, the Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative, has seen good progress. Both sides are strengthening cooperation in areas such as financial services, leadership development, and social governance. China's 'Belt and Road' initiative has also provided many new opportunities for bilateral collaboration," Mr Lee said.

Noting that the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong is an important milestone in the history of China, Mr Lee said that Singapore looks forward to continue working with China to raise bilateral relations to a higher level, and with Hong Kong to deepen our cooperation.

In his congratulatory message to Mrs Lam, Mr Teo said: "Hong Kong's development has grown from strength-to-strength since its return to China under the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework".

"Embodying the 'Lion Rock Spirit', the people of Hong Kong have come together to overcome various challenges over the years, including the financial crises and Sars, to achieve prosperity and progress," Mr Teo said.

He noted that as China continues its growth, vast developmental opportunities await Hong Kong, including the "Belt and Road" initiative and the Guangdong-Macau-Hong Kong Greater Bay Area development.

He told Mrs Lam: "Under your able leadership and with the strong support of the Central Government, I am confident that Hong Kong will continue to flourish."

Mr Teo said that Singapore and Hong Kong share close and multifaceted cooperation, marked by strong linkages in wide-ranging sectors and frequent people-to-people exchanges.

"Our two cities share many similarities and challenges, and have benefited from each other's experiences over the years. Singapore looks forward to greater collaboration and partnership with Hong Kong under your leadership," he said, adding that he looks forward to seeing Mr sLam again soon.

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