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China, Singapore pledge to deepen economic links

Updated: Jun 13,2017 7:06 AM     China Daily

State Councilor Yang Jiechi meets with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Beijing on June 12. [Photo/Xinhua]

China and Singapore pledged on June 12 to cooperate on trade and regional infrastructure projects as the two countries try to speed up talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

While meeting with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Beijing, State Councilor Yang Jiechi said China values its relationship with Singapore and urged the two countries to deepen economic cooperation, and jointly advance construction of the Belt and Road.

“The two sides should also strengthen coordination and boost China-ASEAN relations and cooperation, as well as expediting RCEP negotiations, to promote regional peace, stability and development,” Yang said.

The Singaporean minister also met with reporters along with Foreign Minister Wang Yi after their meeting on June 12.

Wang said China welcomes Singapore’s support and participation in the Belt and Road, and he believes that Singapore will play an important role with its unique strategic location.

He said the two sides also agreed to find ways to work together to boost cooperation in connectivity, finance and with third parties under the initiative.

Balakrishnan, for his part, described Singapore as a “strong believer and supporter” of the Belt and Road Initiative, and pledged to deepen cooperation with China in areas such as infrastructure, finance and technology transfers.

The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding on working together to advance the initiative last month during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

The two ministers also voiced their commitment for an early conclusion of the RCEP negotiations.

Wang said both sides agreed on the need to work together, as champions of regional integration, to address challenges in the face of the sluggish global economy and a rising backlash against globalization.

“We need to conclude the RCEP negotiations as early as possible,” Wang said.

Balakrishnan said, “If we can successfully conclude these negotiations quickly, it will be an important statement in favor of free trade and economic integration. At this point in time, it is more necessary than ever before.”