Launching an eight-day visit to China, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, through his press secretary, expressed what is considered to be a sprucing up of the two countries’ robust bilateral relations and the preservation of a rules-based multilateral trading structure which were spin offs from the last Joint Council for the Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting held in Singapore last September.
The JCBC is the highest level platform for directing bilateral relations between Singapore and China.
Along with discussions on how to strengthen cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, the two leaders talked about financial connectivity, as well as legal and judicial services. New areas of collaboration were also taken into consideration, according to Mr Heng’s press secretary.
During the dinner hosted by the Chinese government, Mr. Heng told his Chinese counterpart that one of the reasons for his current visit is to follow up on some of the initiatives that were raised at the last JCBC meeting.
Besides being in Beijing and Shanghai, Mr. Heng is also slated to visit Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
“It will help me to understand the developments in all these new areas, including the Greater Bay Area,” Mr. Heng said.
On his part, Mr. Han said he looked forward to working with Mr Heng as JCBC co-chairs, to move present cooperation to a “higher level.”
He invited Mr. Heng to visit China again later this year to co-chair the 15th edition of the forum.
Mr. Han also pointed to the frequent high-level exchanges between Singapore and Chinese leaders in recent months and believes that “These meetings and discussions between the highest leaders pave the way for further growth of our bilateral relationship,” said Mr Han, who noted Singapore and China mark 30 years of diplomatic ties next year.
“The full exchange of views will certainly take our relationship to a higher level in a new era.”
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attended the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in April, while President Halimah Yacob was at the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations last week. Both met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.