Beijing welcomes PM Lee Hsien Loong
BEIJING — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is in China for a one-week visit, has said that China is keen to review and improve its Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN (the Association of South-east Asian Nations), and that Singapore will do its part in this development.
Speaking to Singapore reporters today (Aug 26) about issues he discussed in a meeting this morning with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People, Mr Lee added that China plays a very important role in ASEAN’s context of cooperation with many countries in the world and developing an open region.
Mr Lee also exchanged views with Premier Li on the dispute between China and several ASEAN members regarding the South China Sea, saying he explained to the Chinese leader that Singapore has always maintained a consistent position that the issue should be managed peacefully and in accordance with international law.
“And we hope that all countries will exercise moderation and restraint and maintain a peaceful and not-tense environment in Southeast Asia because if there’s tension, if there’s some friction, or worse, some mishap, I think that’s very bad for all the countries in the region,” he said.
Mr Lee will call on President Xi Jinping later this afternoon.
Mr Lee arrived in Beijing yesterday and will depart on Saturday. Earlier this morning, Mr Lee was accorded a welcome ceremony.
The Prime Minister’s Office said on Saturday that Mr Lee will also travel to Xinjiang region and Liaoning province.
PM Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee, Acting Minister for Manpower and Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin and Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and for National Development Lee Yi Shyan.
They will also be joined by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and for Manpower Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and for Communications & Information Sim Ann, Member of Parliament Liang Eng Hwa and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Trade and Industry.
During the prime minister’s absence, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the co-ordinating minister for national security and minister for home affairs, will be the acting prime minister. WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM CHANNEL NEWSASIA