Senior Chinese and Singaporean officials have agreed to accelerate negotiations on an intergovernmental project that is likely to take the shape of a business park in west China.
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean co-chaired meetings on Tuesday in Singapore. According to Chen Xiaodong, China's ambassador to Singapore, the project will focus on logistics and finance.
He said it will be "more forward-looking and pace-setting in geographical scope, planning concepts and cooperation models" than two existing China-Singapore projects, an industrial park in Suzhou and an environmentally-friendly residential area in Tianjin.
China and Singapore are celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations, a quarter century that has seen their cooperation produce remarkable results. China is now Singapore's main trade partner while Singapore is China's largest investment source.
Trade between the countries grew to 95.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, up from 2.8 billion dollars in 1990. Opened in east China's Jiangsu Province in 1994, Suzhou Industrial Park, the largest cooperative project between China and Singapore, has so far attracted 26.7 billion U.S. dollars of foreign investment into 5,200 programs.
More than 90 Fortune 500 enterprises have invested there. Meanwhile, the "ecocity" was inaugurated in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin in 2008 as a model for sustainable development. Its infrastructure will be complete by 2017, with a view to a population of 350,000.
"The two countries have pledged more cooperation, as China's economy has shifted from high-speed growth to growth at a medium-to-high speed, while Singapore is at a vital stage of upgrading its economy," said Chen.
Many observers believe China-Singapore relations can set an example for other regional partnerships. "Being a predominantly ethnic Chinese society, Singapore shares cultural roots with China.
Coupled with excellent relationships not only between the top leaders, but across different hierarchies and segments, this has allowed bilateral relations to soar," said Koh Chin Yee, CEO of Singapore's Longus Research Institute.