Chinese Premier Li Qiang held talks with visiting Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Beijing on Saturday, with both sides vowing further efforts to enhance cooperation.
Noting Lee as an old friend familiar to Chinese people and one of the first batch of foreign leaders received by Li himself after taking office as the premier of the State Council, Li said this fully shows China and Singapore attach great importance to the bilateral relations.
During Lee's visit, both sides have agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to an "All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented Partnership." Li said China is ready to work with Singapore to make "high quality" the most distinct feature of cooperation and bring bilateral ties and pragmatic cooperation to a new height, to deliver more benefits to the two peoples and inject more positive energy into regional and global peace, stability and prosperity.
Li stressed efforts to take the substantive conclusion of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Work Programme for Subsequent Negotiations as an opportunity to facilitate two-way opening up of a higher level and the synergy of economic and trade policies of a higher standard.
The two countries should tap into the new potential of cooperation in various fields including digital economy, artificial intelligence and e-commerce, to help further upgrade major cooperation projects, said the premier.
He also urged efforts to give bigger play to the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor as the pivot of industrial and supply chains in the region, and foster an internationalized platform via China-Singapore cooperation to help boost economic recovery of the regional countries.
"China is willing to continuously deepen cooperation in education, culture, tourism, public health and other sectors with Singapore and work to bring personnel exchanges between the two sides back to normalcy as soon as possible," said Li.
Noting China always regards the ASEAN as a priority of neighborhood diplomacy and firmly supports the centrality of ASEAN, Li said China is ready to work with ASEAN countries including Singapore to promote the construction of ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA 3.0) and advance regional economic integration.
As China and Singapore are both firm defenders of economic globalization and multilateralism, Li said China is willing to join hands with the Singaporean side to jointly resist the attempts to politicize economic issues and overstretch the concept of national security, safeguard the stability and smoothness of international industrial and supply chains, and uphold a multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organization as its core.
Hailing the extensive friendly cooperation as well as the profound mutual trust between the two countries, Lee said Singapore is ready to work with China to expand cooperation in such fields as finance, digital economy, green development, grain security and urban sustainable development, as part of the efforts to forge a paradigm of bilateral and regional cooperation and further advance ties.
Noting China as one of the most substantive cooperative partners of the ASEAN, Lee said all ASEAN countries support developing ties with China and hope to strengthen cooperation while harnessing the opportunities presented by China's economic recovery and expansion of opening up after the COVID-19.
Singapore welcomes and supports China's efforts to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and is willing to work with China to jointly uphold a fair, open and inclusive international trading regime.
After the talks, Premier Li and Prime Minister Lee witnessed the signing of documents on bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, science and technology, food, law, environmental protection and arts.
(Cover: Chinese Premier Li Qiang (L) holds a welcoming ceremony for Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Northern Hall of the Great Hall of the People prior to their talks in Beijing, China, April 1, 2023. /Xinhua)