It is always nice to be invited to a friend’s house for dinner.
It seems like the relationship between China and Singapore is back on track again, with the latest show of love from Chinese Premier Li, who invited PM Lee to China for an official three-day visit.
This visit comes right before China’s Communist Party Congress in October, and is a clear sign that the Chinese leadership feels that Singapore is still much valued as a friend.
Other signs include Mr Zhang Dejian, head of China’s Parliament sending in well wishes and conveying his hopes of working with Speaker of Parliament Mr Tan Chuan-Jin to strengthen ties between Singapore and China.
More importantly, President Xi Jinping sent in congratulatory messages to President Halimah Yacob, highlighting the great importance that he places on developing China-Singapore relations, and how he is ready to work closely together to benefit both China and Singapore.
It seems like Singapore is ready to reciprocate as well, as shown in PM Lee Hsien Loong’s interview with Xinhuanet before his visit to China.
He covered about a couple of issues in the interview –TLDR; essentially says: I want to friend you also – because you good, we good.
Here’s the summary, because China is an important friend:
- Benefits of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative
PM highlighted several ways in which Singapore can work with China for OBOR Initiative. Beyond infrastructure connectivity and financing, third-party collaboration – companies leveraging Singapore as a Launchpad – will be helpful to both countries.
He also said that the OBOR initiative will allow for China to work closely with other countries and be integrated with the international economic system.
- Prelude to ASEAN chairmanship
Singapore will be assuming chairmanship of Asean next year, which also marks the 15th anniversary of China’s strategic partnership with Asean.
PM Lee spoke about how Singapore would enhance and deepen ties between China and Asean. With good relations come economic cooperation.
- Singapore-China projects
The Chongqing project is the latest brainchild of China and Singapore’s Government-to-Government (G2G) project. In short, the project will help to develop hardware (e.g. financial, aviation services), simplify systems, operations to enable companies to maximise their business potential in the city. The Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city were the other two G2G projects between Singapore and China.
PM Lee also shared that Singapore and China were in discussions for the Southern Transport Corridor, which will be a new trade route between western China and Southeast Asia.
It is significant that China has continued to work with Singapore over such a long period of time – shows that Singapore still can contribute and work well with China.
- Smart Nation vision and e-payments
In the interview, PM Lee praised the speed of adoption and advancements of e-payment systems in China.
He said that Singapore has a lot to catch up on and encouraged Singaporeans to learn from China’s experience in taking up e-payments.
Where are all the kiasu Singaporeans – keechiu to prove your worth!
- China’s development in the future
In particular, PM highlighted that China has undergone huge national-wide transformations across the country, and will be able to overcome challenges and continue to progress. Especially its people’s “expectations of the future, the determination to overcome challenges and courage to seek breakthroughs” proving to be extraordinary.
Let’s see how the visit to President Xi and the Chinese leadership goes.