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China’s prosperity a boon for S’pore: MM Lee

Minister Mentor lauds efforts at greening Beijing before Olympics

A GROWING and prosperous China is good for Singapore, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said yesterday.

 

Mr Lee, who is in Beijing to meet China‘s top leaders, made the remarks when he held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Trade and investment between the two countries have grown significantly over the years.

 

Singapore and China are working to take already close ties even further with the signing of a new flagship collaboration – the eco-city project. The project aims to showcase how China can balance rapid economic growth with environmental protection.

 Achieving this balance is a top priority for the Chinese leadership, which is concerned that continued environmental degradation would eventually hurt the country’s booming economy.

‘A prosperous China is good for Singapore,’ said MM Lee. ‘That is why we want to see China stable and growing.’

 

He also praised the capital city’s successful greening efforts ahead of next year’s Olympics, adding: ‘Whatever China wants to do, it can do better than Singapore.’

 

Mr Yang, who spoke in English throughout the 45-minute meeting, said bilateral ties were ‘very good’ and noted that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would be paying an official visit to Singapore this Sunday.

 This is the first visit to Singapore by a Chinese premier in eight years.

During his trip, Mr Wen is expected to sign several bilateral agreements, including a pact on the eco-city project. Mr Yang, who returned from a trip to Iran on Tuesday, will also be part of the Chinese delegation visiting Singapore.

 

Commenting on the Chinese Foreign Minister’s hectic schedule, MM Lee said: ‘(China) is now a very important country’. ‘You are all over the world. Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iran … any trouble spot, (such as) Darfur, you are in.’

 

MM Lee and Mr Yang also discussed regional and international issues of ‘common concern’, the official Xinhua news agency reported without elaborating.

 

Mr Lee was accompanied by Mrs Lee, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Lim Swee Say, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Masagos Zulkifli and senior officials during the four-day trip, which began on Wednesday.

 Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean will join the Singapore delegation today. They will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, as well as Mr Xi Jinping, China‘s sixth-ranked leader, and state councillor Tang Jiaxuan today. Source: The Straits Times 16 Nov 07

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