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Premier Li urges Singapore to promote China, ASEAN relations

Hu Yongqi
Updated: Jun 28,2017 7:30 AM     China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang urged Singapore on June 27 to play a constructive role to promote China-ASEAN ties as China-ASEAN country coordinator and the organization’s chairing nation next year.

Premier Li said China’s ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are a vital part of its relations with neighboring countries and China supports the integration of the ASEAN community.

The Premier made the comment when meeting the city-state’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the sidelines of the Summer Davos in Dalian, Liaoning province.

The Premier said China is willing to strengthen bilateral cooperation in regional connectivity and accelerate negotiations to upgrade the existing free trade agreement and for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which will send a strong signal to the world of China and ASEAN safeguarding free trade and promoting regional development.

China and Singapore have engaged in frequent high-level exchanges, and the logistics center in Chongqing has helped strengthen regional connectivity, Premier Li added.

In response, Shanmugaratnam said his country is willing to expand bilateral cooperation in key areas, accelerate negotiations on the free trade agreement upgrade and the RCEP, and relentlessly endeavor to promote the development of the strategic partnership of ASEAN countries and the world’s second-largest economy.

Premier Li also met with the prime ministers of Sweden and Finland on June 27 on sidelines of the Summer Davos, where more than 2,000 participants gathered. All three foreign leaders extended their condolences over the lives lost in the landslide in Sichuan province last week.

When meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Premier Li said Sweden is one of China’s important partners in Europe, especially in North Europe, as it was the first Western country to forge diplomatic ties with China. He said China is willing to align with Sweden’s development strategies and boost cooperation in fields such as innovation, third-party markets, cultural exchanges and tourism, which will enhance understanding and communications between both peoples.

Lofven said Sweden will enhance communications and coordination with China in multilateral affairs and move bilateral ties to a new stage.

In his meeting with Prime Minister Juha Sipila, Premier Li said China-Finland cooperation has great potential as the North European country has huge advantages in ecological protection, high technologies and winter sports.

Sipila said his country supports China’s hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and would like to strengthen cooperation in winter sports.