SINGAPORE — China and Singapore said in a joint statement on Nov 14 that their cooperation along the Belt and Road is “a new highlight” of bilateral relations.
“Both sides agreed that cooperation along the Belt and Road is a new highlight of China-Singapore relations,” said the statement issued by the two sides during Premier Li Keqiang’s official visit to Singapore.
It said both sides will continue to strengthen cooperation in the platforms of infrastructure connectivity, financial connectivity, third party collaboration, as well as in the new key area of legal and judicial cooperation under the Belt and Road framework.
In line with the development needs of both sides, the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity - New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and a third party collaboration project will be new highlights in the bilateral cooperation, it said.
Both sides agreed to strengthen connectivity across all modes of transport, which will improve the flow of goods and people by air, strengthen people-to-people exchanges and grow tourism, said the statement.
All of these support the Belt and Road Initiative, said the statement.
The document also said that both sides recognized the importance of a rules-based business environment to support the Belt and Road Initiative, and agreed to strengthen legal and judicial exchanges and cooperation.
The Chinese Premier extended an invitation to Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for a visit to China for the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2019, which Lee accepted.
The two sides agreed that economic, trade and investment cooperation between China and Singapore has yielded fruitful results.
“Both countries signed the Protocol to Upgrade the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) during this visit, bringing bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation to new heights,” the statement said.
It said the two sides will continue to further the development of the three government-to-government projects of China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city and China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity.
The two sides will promote and replicate successful experiences from the three projects so that they play a demonstration and leading role, it said.
Both sides welcomed the upgrading of the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City to a state-level bilateral cooperation project, and will continue to deepen collaboration in its joint development, and expand cooperation in the fields of technology innovation, advanced manufacturing, intellectual property rights and talent development.
The two sides also agreed to enhance cooperation in innovation, finance, people-to-people exchanges, urban governance, law enforcement and defense.
On international cooperation, the two sides reaffirmed their shared commitment to rules-based multilateralism, support for the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, adherence to international law, and would continue to maintain close communication and cooperation at the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, it said.
As contributors and beneficiaries of free trade, China and Singapore share a wide range of common interests, said the statement, adding that both sides will work together to uphold the rules-based multilateral trading system as embodied by the World Trade Organization (WTO), and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.
China and Singapore are also working closely for the swift conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), it said.
The two sides signed 11 cooperation documents during Premier Li’s visit, including a protocol to upgrade China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, an MOU on the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity and others on youth and cultural exchanges, environment, finance and trade cooperation.