BEIJING: Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met China's vice-president Wang Qishan on Monday (Apr 9) in Beijing at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound as part of Mr Lee's five-day visit to China.
During the meeting, Mr Wang called Singapore "an old friend of China", as he highlighted that the two leaders have been acquainted with each other for many years.
Mr Wang added that the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had made "important contributions to China's reform and opening up since it began 40 years ago".
He also shared that at a time when China is still opening up, there remain many areas where Singapore's developmental experience would still be relevant for China to take reference from.
In response, Mr Lee said that many Singaporeans and Chinese were visiting each other's countries for business and tourism and there were many areas where Singapore was also learning from China.
"I have contact and exchanges with Singaporean leaders during my different postings in the Chinese government ... I do think we had the good opportunity of meeting each other today given the extensiveness of your schedule," said Mr Wang.
To that, Mr Lee said he was happy to be able to visit Beijing to "meet with old friends and leaders of China". PM Lee is Mr Wang's second foreign guest since Mr Wang's appointment as vice-president in March.
Both leaders noted the "deep and broad" cooperation between the two countries as demonstrated by three Government-to-Government projects: Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-city and Chongqing Connectivity Initiative.
Mr Wang told Mr Lee during their meeting that the next phase of China's opening up will focus on "qualitative and not only quantitative goals".
Mr Lee in return said that the world, including China, was undergoing a significant transition and Singapore would continue to support China in its efforts to further open up.
Mr Lee also expressed confidence that China would continue to open up and uphold the multilateral trading system, and contribute to the development and prosperity of the region and the world.