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China's Vice Premier Han Zheng to visit Singapore for annual bilateral meeting

Vice Premier Han and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will co-chair the 18th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting.

China's Vice Premier Han Zheng to visit Singapore for annual bilateral meeting
File photo of Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat meeting Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng ahead of the 15th China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting in Chongqing on Oct 15, 2019. (Photo: MCI)

SINGAPORE: China's Vice Premier Han Zheng will make an official visit to Singapore from Tuesday (Nov 1) to Wednesday for the 18th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting - the highest-level annual forum between China and Singapore.

He and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat are co-chairs of the bilateral meeting. 

They will also co-chair the 23rd Suzhou Industrial Park Joint Steering Council (JSC), the 14th Tianjin Eco-City JSC, and the 6th China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity JSC meetings.

Mr Han is the most senior Chinese leader to visit Singapore since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The last two editions of the JCBC were held virtually.

"The JCBC is the apex bilateral platform convened annually to review the substantive collaboration between Singapore and China, and chart new direction for cooperation between the two countries," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a press statement on Monday. 

"The JSCs will take stock of the progress made on the three flagship government-to-government projects and discuss ways to further enhance their development."

The first government-to-government project between the two countries is the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, which was launched in 1994.

The other two projects are the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City and the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity.

"Vice Premier Han’s visit to Singapore is a significant milestone, as we look to progressively resume in-person engagements," Mr Heng said in an op-ed ahead of the meetings.

"Even as we manage the effects of the ongoing pandemic in our respective societies, we must continue to work together to boost people-to-people exchanges, which will contribute to our recovery and growth."

Mr Heng said Singapore and China continue to embark on new areas of collaboration, noting that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Xi Jinping had agreed last October to strengthen collaboration in emerging areas such as the digital economy and green economy

He added that as the bilateral relationship progresses, additional areas of cooperation will emerge.

"At the upcoming JCBC, Vice Premier Han and I will be discussing how we can reinvigorate cooperation. We will also be witnessing the launch of many new initiatives that will further advance our bilateral partnership," said Mr Heng, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies.

In addition to the JCBC and JSC meetings, Mr Heng will host a welcome dinner for Mr Han on Tuesday.

During his visit, the Chinese vice premier will also call on President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee. He will have separate meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, as well as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.

Source: CNA/cm(gs)

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