BEIJING – Singapore and China’s leaders exchanged congratulatory messages to mark the 30th anniversary of establishing bilateral relations on Saturday (Oct 3).
In his remarks, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country is willing to work with Singapore to deepen practical cooperation.
“The cooperation between the two countries goes beyond the bilateral scope and exerts an exemplary effect at the regional and international levels,” Mr Xi said in remarks to President Halimah Yacob, according to a readout from the official Xinhua news agency.
As the world undergoes changes not seen in a century because of the coronavirus pandemic, China is willing to work with Singapore to further develop the Belt and Road Initiative, Mr Xi said.
“China is willing to work together with Singapore… to deepen pragmatic cooperation in various fields, jointly safeguard multilateralism and free trade, and promote greater development of bilateral relations for regional and global stability and prosperity,” he added.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also wrote to his counterpart, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, to mark the occasion.
“China is willing to work with Singapore to… keep pace with the times, pioneer and innovate, deepen the alignment of development strategies, and help the two countries and the region overcome challenges and usher in better future development prospects,” he wrote, according to Xinhua.
On Oct 3, 1990, the two countries’ foreign ministers signed a joint communique at the United Nations headquarters in New York, marking the start of diplomatic relations.
While there had been visits and prior interactions, they were arranged through Singapore’s trade office in Beijing.
The Chinese Embassy in Singapore also released on Saturday the first of a three-part documentary celebrating 30 years of bilateral relations.
Featuring 20 people from “all walks of life”, the first episode featured senior diplomats Chan Heng Chee and Tommy Koh, who had been personally involved in the setting up of formal ties, head of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Chinese Media Group Lee Huay Leng and Business China chairman Lee Yi Shyan.
The episode examined the early stages of bilateral relations and the inaugural joint government project, the Suzhou Industrial Park.
Meanwhile, Lianhe Zaobao and English e-magazine ThinkChina launched a picture book on Saturday, titled In The Founders’ Footsteps: 30 years of Singapore-China Diplomatic Relations.
The book was launched by Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Chee Hong Tat and Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong.
Also in attendance were ex-foreign ministers S. Dhanabalan, Wong Kan Seng and George Yeo, and ex-Singapore ambassadors to China Cheng Tong Fatt, Chin Siat-Yoon and Stanley Loh.