Xi's Singapore visit marks deepened relationship

Xi's Singapore visit marks deepened relationship

President Xi Jinping's arrival in Singapore on Friday comes amid concerted efforts to upgrade a bilateral free trade agreement and as China's Chongqing has been chosen to be the location for the third intergovernmental project-an urbanization development project-between the two nations.

This is Xi's first state visit to Singapore since taking office, and it is at the invitation of his Singaporean counterpart Tony Tan Keng Yam. The trip is also the first state visit hosted by Singapore since the general election in September.

The two countries will sign an array of co-operation agreements on education, customs, finance and urban governance.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Singapore and 25 years of China-Singapore diplomatic relations. In an article published on Friday in The Straits Times, Xi said the occasion adds to the significance of his visit to the country.

"In the quarter of a century since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Singapore have helped, supported and learned from each other, and this has contributed much to our respective development," Xi was quoted as saying in the article. 

In 2014, bilateral trade reached $79.74 billion, a 28-fold increase over two decades ago.

Xi pointed out that China is Singapore's biggest trading partner, likewise, Singapore was one of the first countries to get involved in China's opening-up, and is an important offshore RMB trading centre.

Building on the success of the Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city, a third bilateral co-operation project will be launched, Xi said, adding that co-operation between the two countries in finance, science, technology, environmental protection, education, culture, social governance, law enforcement and security has been deepened and produced many results.

Noting that China-Singapore relations have reached a new historical starting point, Xi made a three-point proposal in order to create a brighter future for bilateral ties.

He said the two countries should continue to provide leadership guidance by maintaining close high-level exchanges, strengthening political mutual trust and enhancing strategic dialogue.

Xi also called for both nations to deepen and expand practical co-operation by synergizing respective development strategies, expand converging interests, take solid steps to pursue co-operation projects, create new growth areas for co-operation, and upgrade practical co-operation between China and Singapore.

The two sides should pursue close co-operation on regional and international affairs, Xi said, adding that both China and Singapore should jointly promote integration in the region, peace and development in Asia, and global prosperity.

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