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Singapore's PM Lee meets Guangdong official Huang Kunming on third day of China visit

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had earlier visited the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City - an example of the partnership between the two countries.

03:26 Min
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (Mar 29) met Secretary of the Communist Party of China's Guangdong Provincial Committee Huang Kunming for the first time, amid efforts to boost the two countries' partnership in the province. Olivia Siong reports.

GUANGZHOU: Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (Mar 29) met Secretary of the Communist Party of China's Guangdong Provincial Committee Huang Kunming for the first time, amid efforts to boost the two countries' partnership in the province.

Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, is the first stop in Mr Lee's first official visit to China in over three years. He arrived on Monday and will travel to Hainan province and Beijing before departing China on Apr 1. 

In his meeting with Mr Huang, Mr Lee noted that Singapore would like to take bilateral relations to the "next level", and that he was looking forward to "substantial" outcomes from discussions.  

Mr Lee and Mr Huang agreed there was potential for Singapore and the Chinese province to deepen cooperation, including in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

During their meeting, attended by officials and the media, Mr Huang – who spoke in Mandarin – welcomed Mr Lee's first visit to Guangzhou in more than 10 years. He said Mr Lee had contributed a "lot" to China-Singapore cooperation and other areas, and expressed his gratitude. 

Mr Huang said the province would further explore its partnership with Singapore in areas including urban planning, economic development and the shipping, financial and manufacturing industries.
Their meeting comes a day after Mr Lee visited the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, an example of the two countries collaborating.

The China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, located around 35km from Guangzhou's city centre, was developed in 2010 by a joint venture company between the Singapore-based real estate group CapitaLand and Guangzhou Development District, to spur Guangdong's economic transformation. 

Now 232 sq km large, the commercial development also houses recreational, educational and healthcare facilities and is home to about 200,000 residents.

Within the Knowledge City, Mr Lee made stops at the China-Singapore International Joint Research Institute, the China-Singapore Smart Park and a Hwa Chong Institution-affiliated school, Guangzhou SingChin Academy. 

Guangzhou Knowledge City's deputy chief executive Kenneth Teo said the China-Singapore Smart Park had expedited the second phase of its expansion to June this year, ahead of its original timeline of October, due to pent-up demand from companies after the pandemic. 

Mr Teo told CNA: "The interest of companies has been very very strong, we are seeing a lot of visitors in the recent weeks as well. We are seeing that companies are also investing time and effort to actually come into the market to quickly roll out what they have planned for the last three years."

Around 60 firms have set up in the business park, which opened in June last year.

Mr Lee was also shown around Guangzhou SingChin Academy's campus, where he was greeted by scores of students aged between six and 17. 

The Prime Minister also had lunch with Guangdong-based Singapore corporate leaders from a range of industries, during which he had a "fruitful discussion on the business environment in Guangdong and China, and the opportunities for companies to grow" in the market, Mr Lee's press secretary told the media on Tuesday. 

Biotech firm BioSyngen, which focuses on cancer treatment through cell therapy, set up an office in Guangzhou Knowledge City in 2017.

Chief business officer Isaac Chow told CNA that Guangzhou was favourable for companies in his industry.

"Local government agencies are pro-business and have a deep understanding of the sector," he said. "Furthermore, a cluster of top hospitals within a small radius enables speed in clinical development and collaboration."

On Tuesday evening, Mr Lee and his delegation, comprising Mrs Lee and other Singapore ministers and officials, toured the cultural area of Yongqingfang in Guangzhou, and learned about its restoration efforts.

Mr Lee also visited autonomous vehicle company WeRide and met Singaporeans based in Guangdong, on the first day of his trip to China.

For the remaining legs of his tour, Mr Lee is expected to give a speech at the Bo’ao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in Hainan as well as meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. 

Source: CNA/wt(jo)


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