QIONGHAI, Hainan: With China's new leadership team in place, it is "timely" for Beijing and Singapore to bring their partnership forward, said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Apr 10) during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in Hainan province.
“China now has a new leadership team in place, Singapore also is in the process of preparing for leadership transition,” Mr Lee said.
“This is a timely meeting for us to bring our partnership forward and therefore I brought along several of my younger ministers and colleagues on the trip in order to establish ties with their counterparts and be able to bring our relations forward."
Mr Lee added that China's recent “Lianghui” - or annual meetings of the national legislature - has set directions for the Asian giant to play a constructive and stabilising role in the region and international system.
The last time Mr Lee and Mr Xi met was in September last year in China, before the 19th Party Congress.
Mr Xi said that since then, both countries have made progress on its bilateral relations and all-round cooperation.
This has brought benefits to both countries and made positive contributions to regional peace and development, Mr Xi added. He also said that Mr Lee’s visit to Boao reflects the importance of new relations between China and Singapore.
Mr Xi also welcomed Mr Lee's speech earlier at the opening of the Boao conference, and both leaders stressed the importance of the rules-based multilateral trading system which has benefited all countries, big and small.
During his five-day trip to China, Mr Lee has met with Vice President Wang Qishan and Premier Li Keqiang, and will be meeting party chief Li Qiang in Shanghai.