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China, Singapore eye new opportunity for cooperation
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China and Singapore will explore new cooperative fields as they mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year, said Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.

"Next year, the two countries will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations, and the two sides should take the opportunity to explore new aspect of cooperation," said Xi in a meeting with visiting Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo Yong Boon in Beijing.

China and Singapore forged diplomatic ties on Oct. 3, 1990.

Xi said bilateral ties have increased in the past 19 years.

Yeo is on an official visit to China from Aug. 18 to 25 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. In addition to Beijing, George Yeo is due to visit the northwestern province of Qinghai and southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region.

"China appreciates the Singaporean government for its firm adherence to the one-China policy and its support on Taiwan and Tibet issues," Xi told Yeo at the Great Hall of People in downtown Beijing.

Also on Wednesday, Yeo held talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

China will work with Singapore to advance cooperation between the two countries to a new height, said Yang.

Yeo said the cooperation between Singapore and China has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples, and Singapore will work together with China to deepen pragmatic cooperation.

Yeo's eight-day visit coincides with the upcoming visit to Singapore by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, whose visit will last from Aug. 23 to 26 at the invitation of his Singaporean counterpart Wong Kan Seng.

During his visit, Wang and Wong will co-chair a series of economic meetings.

Singapore plays host to the APEC meetings held from February to November 2009. The activities will culminate in the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, at which leaders of APEC's 21 member economies, including China, will meet from Nov. 14 to 15.

China and Singapore have also conducted sound trade and economic cooperation in the past 19 years.

Statistics from Singapore showed that the trade volume between China and Singapore reached 27.45 billion U.S. dollars in the first seven months of this year, and China remains the second largest trade partner of Singapore.

China and the ASEAN members on Saturday signed an investment agreement in Bangkok. The signing of the agreement, together with already-signed China-ASEAN agreements of trade in goods and services, completed the negotiation process of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area ( FTA), which is to be realized by Jan. 1, 2010.

The free trade agreement is expected to further boost trade and investment between China and the ASEAN, including Singapore.

(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2009)

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