Singapore's PM backs Maritime Silk Road plan

Updated: 2014-09-12 07:38

By China Daily (China Daily)

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China's plans for a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road have been welcomed by Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore's prime minister, who said the initiative will benefit development in the region.

The Singaporean government appreciates China's efforts to strengthen ties with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in a systematic and multitier way, he told Guangzhou's Nanfang Daily before embarking on his fifth trip to China as premier on Thursday.

The Maritime Silk Road proposal was put forward by President Xi Jinping, and Lee said it will promote interconnection and create an economic belt.

ASEAN hopes to maintain friendly and cooperative ties with all countries, including China, the United States, the European Union and Japan, he added.

Lee said the expected further development of China's financial services industry will provide opportunities for Singapore.

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone approved by the State Council last year is to be used to try out new financial regulations. If the regulations prove successful, they may be extended to other parts of China.

Lee said there have been positive developments in bilateral cooperation at all levels and in all areas.

China is Singapore's largest trading partner, and Singapore ranks 11th among China's trading partners.

Accompanying Lee on his trip is a trade delegation that includes the transport minister, a special adviser on economic cooperation, the trade and industry minister and the ambassador to China.

He is scheduled to visit the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, traditional Cantonese-style buildings in Guangzhou and Lianhua Hill, and Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings in Shenzhen.

He is then due to attend the 11th China-ASEAN Expo, to be held at Nanning in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, from Sept 16 to 19.

Li Wenfang in Guangzhou contributed to this story.