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Singapore and China share strong ties: DPM Teo

Singapore and China ties are deep, and cooperation between the two countries is broad, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in an op-ed published on Monday (July 28). He is on an official visit to China.

SINGAPORE: Singapore and China ties are deep, and cooperation between the two countries is broad, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in an op-ed published on Monday (July 28) in Chinese newspaper “Cankao News”, highlighting how China and Singapore will celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations next year.

Mr Teo, who is on a five-day official visit to China, said Singapore became China's top source of foreign investment with a total investment of US$7.33b. China became Singapore's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to US$73.1b. This makes Singapore China's 11th largest trading partner.

He highlighted bilateral engagement between the two countries took off from the time of Lee Kuan Yew and Deng Xiaoping and by 1990, relations were so strong that Mr Lee proposed the Suzhou Industrial Park - a joint project of unprecedented scale and ambition. Since then, the park has served a useful model of "urban and industrial development".

Emphasising the expansion into new areas of economic and financial cooperation, Mr Teo said Singapore last year became the first country outside "Greater China" designated as an offshore RMB clearing centre.

More recently, the People's Bank of China and the Monetary Authority of Singapore reached an agreement on a pilot policy package that will facilitate cross-border RMB transactions. Mr Teo said this will not only boost China's RMB internationalisation efforts, but add a new dimension to bilateral cooperation in the Suzhou Industrial Park, as well as in the Tianjin Eco-City.

But he added Singapore-China relations go beyond economics, and although the countries differ in size and political systems, they share a friendship "founded on deep cultural linkages and strong people-to-people ties". Mr Teo highlighted how some 50,000 Chinese officials have visited Singapore over the last 20 years to learn about Singapore's experience.

He concluded by saying Singapore has always been a strong supporter of closer ASEAN-China relations, and said China and ASEAN "share deep and multi-faceted interests which transcend any single issue."

Mr Teo added: "While there are differences between some ASEAN countries and China over territorial claims, we encourage all parties concerned to manage the differences through dialogue and to resolve the disputes peacefully, in accordance with international law. ASEAN looks forward to working with China to expeditiously conclude a code of conduct in the South China Sea. This will help to enhance mutual trust and promote peace and stability in our region, paving the way for another golden decade in ASEAN-China relations." 

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