CHINA'S Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli met Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in a closed-door meeting as he began his three-day official visit here on Monrday.
At the start of the meeting, DPM Teo, who had invited China's seventh-ranked leader, welcomed him and congratulated him on his appointment to the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC). Mr Teo also said he hoped the two sides would have good discussions in the days to come.
Mr Zhang thanked Mr Teo for the invitation and said that he recognised many familiar faces and old friends in the room.
At a dinner Mr Teo hosted for Mr Zhang, they launched a video highlighting the JCBC's main milestones. For instance, a comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement between China and Singapore was announced at the council's fifth meeting in 2008.
The JCBC, the top bilateral body overseeing political ties and collaboration between the two countries, was started in 2003 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
Today, Mr Zhang is due to co-chair the meetings of the JCBC and two other key bilateral bodies: the 15th Suzhou Industrial Park Joint Steering Council (JSC) and the sixth Tianjin Eco-City JSC. He will then call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Ahead of his visit, Mr Zhang paid tribute to the growing ties between Singapore and China.
In an essay published in Lianhe Zaobao on Monday, he said that Singapore and China should work on collaboration at a regional level, including helping to promote a stable currency and an Asian infrastructure investment bank.
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