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Hu meets Singaporean PM on Taiwan, bilateral ties
Updated: 2004-11-20 21:47

Chinese President Hu Jintao met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday, focusing on Taiwan issue and bilateral ties.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during their meeting on the sidelines of the 12th Economic Leaders Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, November 19, 2004. [Xinhua]

Hu said, with sincere hopes to maintain friendship with Singaporean people, China is willing to make efforts to put Sino-Singaporean relations on track for healthy and sustainable development, taking note with appreciation of Singapore's repeated confirmation of its one-China policy and its opposition to "Taiwan independence".

Lee said he realized that his trip to Taiwan in July has brought about difficulties to relations with China. Singapore's fundamental position, which sticks to the one-China policy, has not changed, he said, adding that his country is unequivocal in opposition to "Taiwan independence."

Hu pointed out that the Taiwan issue should be handled with caution as it has a bearing on China's essential interests. The handling of the issue shall not harm the feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese and be detrimental to bilateral relations, he said. That China's sovereignty and essential interests must be respected is a general principle, said Hu.

The Chinese president said friendship between the two countries, which has been the outcome of cultivation by generations of leaders, is worth cherishing. Good relations between the two countries will not only bring benefits to the two peoples, but also are conducive to peace, stability and development in Asia, he said. Hu expressed the hope that new leaders of the two countries should have vision and steer bilateral relations on a healthy track.

Hu said China and Singapore are important trading partners. Trade has increased almost tenfold since the establishment of diplomatic relations 14 years ago, he said, adding that China is willing to work with Singapore to strengthen economic cooperation.

Lee said bilateral cooperation has been quite fruitful, but still has potential. Singapore is willing to consolidate relations with China, he said.

Both leaders are in Santiago, Chile, for the 12th Economic Leaders Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

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