S'pore continues to support China's opening up

Singapore will continue to support China's efforts in its next stage of opening up and in upholding the multilateral trading system, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday at a meeting with Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan.

PM Lee said the world, including China, is undergoing a period of significant transition, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

But he "expressed confidence that China would continue to open up and uphold the multilateral trading system, and contribute to the development and prosperity of the region and the world".

His comments come as protectionist sentiment is rising in the US.

It has threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese imports in recent weeks, stoking fears of a trade war between the two economic superpowers.

A trade war would severely undermine the multilateral trading system, PM Lee said in an interview published on Sunday by the People's Daily.

PM Lee, who arrived on Sunday for a five-day working visit to China, met Mr Wang in the Zhongnanhai leadership compound.

Mr Wang shared with PM Lee key domestic developments, including the policy and direction of the next stage of China's opening up, which focuses on high-quality development rather than rapid growth.

Mr Wang said that as China is still opening up, there remain "many areas where Singapore's developmental experience would still be relevant for China to take reference from".

PM Lee said there are many areas where Singapore is also learning from China.

Both leaders noted the "deep and broad cooperation" between the countries, particularly on the three successful government-to-government projects - the Suzhou Industrial Park, the Tianjin Eco-city and the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative.

They said that such cooperation can hit a new level through the Belt and Road Initiative.

PM Lee left Beijing yesterday for Boao in southern Hainan Island, where he will speak at the annual Boao Forum for Asia and meet President Xi.