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S’pore, China to jointly develop eco-city

Tianjin Eco-City to be a model of sustainable devt

(SINGAPORE) In a highly anticipated landmark signing at the Istana yesterday, the governments of Singapore and China inked a framework agreement to jointly develop an eco-city in Tianjin, which will deepen cooperation and bring bilateral relations to greater heights.

The vision is for the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City to be a model of sustainable development that is socially harmonious, environmentally friendly and resource-efficient.

It will be developed by a joint venture between a Singapore consortium led by Keppel Corporation and a PRC consortium comprising Chinese companies such as the Tianjin Binhai New Area Urban Infrastructure Construction Investment Co Ltd, Tianjin TEDA Investment Holdings Co Ltd and the China Development Bank.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was pleased with the decision and was confident the Chinese central government and the Tianjin government will give the project their full support.

This project is yet another flagship of bilateral cooperation between Singapore and China since the 13-year-old Suzhou Industrial Park, visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said.

‘The Suzhou Industrial Park has become a crystallisation of the friendship between our two countries, and with the eco-city to be built in Tianjin, it will become another highlight in our relations,’ Premier Wen added.

The two leaders signed a framework agreement that set the parameters for collaboration, while a supplementary pact that guide the implementation details was signed by Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan and China’s Construction Minister Wang Guangtao.

Under the framework agreement, China and Singapore will share their expertise and experiences in the formulation of policies and programmes to engender social harmony, urban planning, environment protection, resource conservation, recycling, ecological infrastructure development, use of renewable resources, reuse of wastewater and sustainable development.

Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng and Vice- Premier Wu Yi will jointly chair a Singapore-PRC Joint Steering Committee (JSC) to oversee all major issues relating to the development of the eco-city project while a Joint Working Committee (JWC), co-chaired by Mr Mah and Mr Wang will address issues and problems related to the development. The JWC will report to the JSC, which will be under the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC).

The key outcomes spelt out under the supplementary agreement are a vibrant local economy with good environmental conditions, the formation of socially harmonious and inclusive communities, good environmental technologies and practices, and a reference for other cities in China in the management, technological and policy aspects.

Further details of the eco-city are being finalised.

Earlier on, the leaders met for about an hour, where they reviewed the 17 years of Sino-Singapore bilateral ties and discussed other issues such as Singapore-China free trade agreement, cross-straits situation and Myanmar.

Both leaders expressed confidence in the current state of relationships that are based on mutual interests and respect.

‘Our relations are good because the foundations of the relations are based on compatible strategic views of the way Asia is developing, of China’s development, and peaceful emergence into the world order,’ PM Lee said.

‘Therefore, we believe that there’s room for us to work together for mutual benefit and on the basis of equality and mutual respect.’

Yesterday’s state visit by Premier Wen also saw the official launch of the Singapore China Foundation (SCF) which seeks to strengthen people-to-people ties between Singapore and China through cooperation in education and human resource development.

The SCF currently offers two scholarship schemes to Singaporeans and PRC nationals to pursue Master programmes and executive programmes in Singapore and China and has awarded scholarship schemes to more than 20 Singaporean and Chinese officials since its inception under a memorandum of understanding in 2004.

PM Lee also hosted Premier Wen to an official dinner banquet yesterday at the Istana Banquet Hall.

In the days ahead, Premier Wen will be attending a series of high-level regional summits here, including the 11th Asean Plus Three Summit and the Third East Asia Summit that are held alongside the 13th Asean Summit. He will deliver a keynote speech at the National University of Singapore today.


Source: Business Times 19 Nov 07


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