Chongqing—The team of officials currently on a visit to China for the 15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, are all members of the fourth generation (4G) of Singapore’s leaders.
The co-chairman of the council, which is the highest-level bilateral platform between Singapore and China, is Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who also leading the team. The other co-chairman is Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng.
The Deputy Prime Minister, who is also Singapore’s Finance Minister, wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon that he had “Concluded a very substantive and productive 15th China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) Meeting which I co-chaired with Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng.”
Had a bilateral meeting with Vice Premier Han Zheng before JCBC. We exchanged views on the excellent state of…
DPM Heng said that the progress of three inter-governmental initiatives was discussed in the meeting, namely the Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-city, and Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, and that nine MOUs and Agreements were signed afterwards, which included one for the establishment of the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative.
He also expressed that he looked forward to continued ties between Singapore and China, especially with 2020 being the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
“As we embark on our next phase of cooperation, I look forward to seeing Singapore continue to partner China in the development of both countries, catalyse deeper cooperation with ASEAN and the broader region in existing and new areas, while ensuring this will in turn benefit our people and businesses.”
DPM Heng, who is now in Beijing, said in a later post that he is “heading to Tianjin to get a first-hand look at the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city.”
As for Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, he posted concerning the announcement of the ratification of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) Upgrade Protocol at the JCBC.
“The CSFTA Upgrade Protocol will take effect tomorrow and allow our businesses to enjoy greater ease when doing business in China. The entry into force of the agreement is also an important signal of Singapore and China’s commitment to free and open trade.
I hope more Singapore businesses will tap on this upgraded agreement, and I look forward to deepening our trade and investment linkages with China. CCS”
Desmond Lee, the Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister in the Ministry of National Development, posted that the JCBC had ended on “a positive note” with both sided agreeing to even closer bilateral cooperation.
Mr Lee wrote about the 1th Joint Steering Committee meeting of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, where both parties “discussed our continued efforts to push forth green and smart developments in the Eco-city.”
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli told the media after the JCBC that China and Singapore are “at the forefront” of fighting climate change on the global front, according to a report from the Straits Times (ST), with both nations endeavouring to establish zero-waste cities at Tianjin Eco-city.
In remarks to the press, DPM Heng said that one official from China has noted Singapore’s uniqueness due to its numerous cooperation platforms with China.
ST quotes him as saying, ”The phrase he used was duyi wu’er (unique and unmatched). I think this is something that we value, and both sides value, and we’d like to take this forward.”
In 2020, the 16th JCBC will be held in Singapore, with a visit from Vice Premier Han Zheng. -/TISG