Singapore’s PM China visit: 5 things you need to know

On Asean-China ties, Mr Lee told Mr Li that Singapore will promote stronger cooperation between the two sides when it takes over as Asean chair next year.

Singapore hopes it will be able to bring China and ASEAN closer together, Lee added.

Tensions between the two countries burst into the open last November when Hong Kong port authorities impounded nine Singaporean armored military vehicles being shipped home from training grounds in Taiwan.

Relations have been improving in recent months, however.

At present, six Singaporean businesses have registered to join the project.

Mr Bai said Mr Lee’s visit sends a “very important political signal”, given that China will be holding a key political meeting soon.

“We are full of confidence for the development of China-Singapore relations”, he said.

Lee is eager not to miss out on China’s “Belt and Road” global trade-and-infrastructure initiative.

The two countries would continue to push for progress in negotiations on the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, and also the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a Beijing-backed regional trade deal, he said.

In 2016, Malaysia and Singapore agreed to build a 360-km high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which is expected to start operation by December 2026 and cut travel time to about 90 minutes.

The two leaders also agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation on worldwide and regional matters, according to a transcript of their meeting reported by China’s state broadcaster CCTV.

Lee is due to meet with President Xi Jinping later Wednesday, after meeting three other members of the Communist Party’s supreme Politburo Standing Committee: Premier Li Keqiang, national legislature chief Zhang Dejiang and top graft-buster Wang Qishan.

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