- POSTED: 16 Sep 2013 23:22
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Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong met China's Executive Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli in Beijing on Monday in a meeting described as one between old friends.
BEIJING, CHINA: Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong met China's Executive Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli in Beijing on Monday.
In a substantive meeting that lasted an hour and 20 minutes, the two leaders described the meeting as one between old friends.
Both had met several times in Tianjin while Mr Zhang was Tianjin Party Secretary in charge of the Eco-City project.
Mr Goh, who is in China to mark the 5th anniversary of the Tianjin Eco-City, said progress in the eco-city over the last five years was amazing, with the low-carbon buildings there particularly impressive.
"Two years ago I was there and the whole place was a massive construction site. There were no residents there, just workers,” he said.
“This time we have some residents there and establishments have opened up. The banks are there and some restaurants are functioning now."
Visiting Tianjin Eco-City on Sunday, Mr Goh expressed confidence in the project, even as it now faces the challenges of attracting more residents, given current Chinese housing policies that restrict home purchase, as well as improving transportation links.
Meanwhile, Executive Vice Premier Zhang reaffirmed the Chinese leadership's full political support for the success of the Tianjin Eco-City.
Mr Goh and Executive Vice Premier Zhang also noted the excellent relations between Singapore and China.
They reaffirmed the deep and broad bilateral cooperation between the two countries -- agreeing on the importance of ensuring the success of existing bilateral flagship projects and mechanisms such as the Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-City, Guangzhou Knowledge City and the Jilin Food Zone.
They agreed that both should also continue to explore new areas of cooperation in fields such as financial cooperation and social management.
Mr Goh also congratulated Vice Premier Zhang on his appointment as Executive Vice Premier and member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Mr Zhang is the current Co-chair of the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), a mechanism for high-level bilateral talks between Singapore and China.
He briefed ESM Goh on the current state of the Chinese economy and plans for the upcoming Third Plenum of the CPC Central Committee.
The leaders also exchanged views on the global economic situation.