CHONGQING: Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will co-chair a top bilateral meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng while on a four-day visit to China, which started on Monday (Oct 14).
The visit, which will see Mr Heng travel to Chongqing, Tianjin and Beijing at the invitation of Mr Han, is of particular significance as it is the first time Mr Heng will co-chair the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting, the highest-level annual forum between China and Singapore.
The two leaders will co-chair the 15th JCBC meeting on Tuesday, review the progress made on the three government-to-government projects - in Suzhou, Tianjin, and Chongqing - and discuss the future direction of cooperation.
In an opinion piece he wrote for Lianhe Zaobao ahead of his visit, Mr Heng said "the JCBC is an opportunity for both countries to raise our trajectory to strengthen constructive cooperation on a win-win basis". He added that he would focus on three themes in the upcoming meeting.
The first is to strengthen the foundations of the bilateral relationship, the second is to scale new peaks and the third is to explore how Singapore and China can expand the horizons of bilateral cooperation beyond each others’ shores to other countries.
On Monday, Mr Heng was briefed on the development of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI)-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and the Multimodal Distribution and Connectivity Centre - initiatives under the auspices of the CCI, the third and newest Singapore-China government-to-government project.
He also toured Chongqing’s Guoyuan Port and Feixiang Industrial IOT, a joint venture between Alibaba Cloud and Chongqing’s Nan’an District, as well as met Chinese officials who had participated in study visits and programmes in Singapore.
While in Chongqing, Mr Heng will also meet Chongqing Party Secretary Chen Min’er.
After Chongqing, Mr Heng will visit Tianjin on Wednesday before travelling to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders on Thursday, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Apart from the three government-to-government projects, both countries are also cooperating on the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City and are working on the establishment of a Smart City Initiative with Shenzhen.
On this trip, Mr Heng is accompanied by other members of the fourth generation political leadership, who are overseeing different aspects of Singapore-China bilateral cooperation.
They include Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee.