On 7 November 2020, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Singaporean Ministry of Trade and Industry and Chongqing Municipal Government co-hosted a reception celebrating the 30th anniversary of China-Singapore diplomatic ties and the 5th anniversary of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI). Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) attended the reception upon invitation. Around 100 government officials, industry representatives and diplomatic envoys in Sichuan and Chongqing joined the gathering.
Mr. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce of China, stated in a written speech that over the past five years, China and Singapore saw great advancement in cooperation in the four priority sectors: financial services, aviation, transport and logistics, and information and communication technology, which has deepened and yielded fruitful results. The launching of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC) serves as an innovative channel to better connect the Belt with the Road, and is truly an epitome of the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. During their phone conversation in July this year, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong agreed to deepen the BRI cooperation through the ILSTC and in partnership with the third parties. MOFCOM is ready to work with the Singaporean side to implement the important consensus reached by the two leaders, give full play to the role of Singapore and Chongqing as two vital hubs, step up efforts of CCI and ILSTC cooperation, facilitate the construction of the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle, and ensure the smooth operation of industrial and supply chains between the two countries and in East Asia.
Ms. Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs of Singapore made a speech through video link. She said that both Singapore and China agreed that CCI should focus on the theme of “modern connectivity and services” to allow the two sides to tap on the complementary strength and work together. This energy reflects the all-round cooperative partnership between Singapore and China that progresses with the times. To ensure that CCI continues to be of a high starting point, high standard and innovative, the following principles must be followed. First, the CCI must remain open and inclusive. Second, the CCI collaborations must be commercially viable and sustainable. Third, for the CCI to truly make an impact in Western China, it must pilot innovative measures whether in policies, rules or processes, which can be replicated in other parts of China if successful.
Mr. Tang Liangzhi, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, Mayor of the Chongqing Municipal Government made a general review of the achievements of the CCI. By the end of October 2020, 230 projects with 32.3 billion USD in total value have been signed by the two sides. Major cooperation projects have been implemented after ILSTC and China-Singapore (Chongqing) Dedicated Data Chanel were put in place. The cooperation scope has expanded further to education, science and technology, health as well as culture and tourism. Going forward, Chongqing stands ready to work with the Singaporean side to follow through the important consensus agreed by our top leaders, enhance strategy alignment, improve the operation of ILSTC, and expand the 3rd-party cooperation under BRI, so as to better connect Western China with ASEAN Member States, pursue cooperation in a wider range and achieve more visible outcome.
Secretary-General Chen Dehai had extensive exchanges with guests and representatives present at the reception. He congratulated on the achievements of the CCI and expressed ACC’s willingness to serve as a bridge to promote the connectivity between China and Singapore as well as other ASEAN Member States.