More frequent meetings between S’pore, China leaders to deepen ties among younger leaders: Premier Li Keqiang

13 Nov 2018


SINGAPORE — To strengthen Singapore-China ties, including among younger politicians, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hopes for more frequent meetings between leaders from both sides to deepen “personal friendships”.

Mr Li, who is on his first official visit to Singapore as premier, said on Tuesday (Nov 13) that his trip was to move bilateral ties to a “higher level”.

“I also hope there will be more heart-to-heart communication among people from all walks of life in our two countries,” Mr Li told more than 500 people at the 44th Singapore Lecture at the St Regis Singapore Hotel.

He was responding to Business China chairman Lee Yi Shyan’s question on how trust and friendship between Singapore and China can be enhanced in the coming years, especially among younger leaders.

Mr Li said knowledge was a key area of co-operation between both countries, and that included the training of personnel and internships.

He also welcomed more young Singaporeans to take up internships in China, and encouraged more Chinese youth to do the same here.

Noting China’s rapid strides in areas such as artificial intelligence, drones, and robotics, a National University of Singapore student asked Mr Li what role Singaporean and other South-east Asian students can play in the development of these industries.

Mr Li replied that China and Singapore have reached in-principle agreement on smart-city partnerships, which will provide broad platforms for tie-ups in sectors such as science and technology. China looks forward to more collaborations with Singapore in the high-tech space, Mr Li said.

“The future of high-tech lies in the young people,” added the Chinese premier.

Mr Li said he was impressed by Singapore’s modernity and development, having seen many new developments unfolding en route to his hotel after touching down on Monday afternoon.

Singapore has developed itself into an “international metropolis” with strong “vigour and vitality”. “We feel happy for your achievements,” said Mr Li.

The Chinese premier, who is China’s second-in-command after President Xi Jinping, reiterated China’s appreciation for Singapore’s support in the economic superpower’s reforms and opening up over four decades.

On Tuesday evening, Mr Li attended a welcome banquet at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, hosted by the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry on behalf of the business community here.

Nearly 1,000 business leaders and senior officials from Singapore, China and elsewhere — including Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat — attended the event. 

Speaking at the dinner, Mr Li said Singapore and China have stood side by side through difficult times, and the relationship — which he characterised as “all-dimensional and highly innovative” — will continue to progress.

He called for greater investment flows from Singapore businesses into China, which will deliver “more mutual benefit” for both countries. He also reiterated China’s pledge to continue with reforms, and build a stable business environment conducive to long-term investment and good business returns.

Mr Li is set to attend a series of high-level regional meetings — including a summit between the Association of South-east Asian Nations and China — in the coming days. He will also call on President Halimah Yacob on Wednesday.

Courtesy of TODAYonline, 14 Nov 2018.