Singapore PM Hopes ‘Modest Contribution’ To China’s BRI

BRI meeting
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a news conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China May 15, 2017. (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo)

In a recent interview, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that ties between his country and China have significantly improved compared to what it was back in 1990. The Prime Minister added that with China's continued leadership in the region, he is positive that there is a great potential for this cooperation to further develop.

China has been flaunting its Belt and Road Initiative Project for quite some time already. While many countries welcome this possible cooperation with the Asian superpower, a handful remains skeptical. When asked about this particular subject, Prime Minister Lee said that Singapore is in a strategic position to make a "modest contribution" to China's flagship project.

When asked about what Singapore can offer to China, he said that Singapore can play a constructive role in a number of sectors. Among those that the Prime Minister pointed out are financial services, and third-country investments and human resources development.

Prime Minister Lee spoke with China's state-owned news agency Xinhua ahead of his scheduled visit to Beijing to attend China's second Belt and Road summit. The said summit was also attended by 40 other heads of state and government.

In terms of government projects where Singapore can make a major contribution, Prime Minister Lee pointed out the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative. Also known as the CCI, this is a joint-government project which was inaugurated in 2015 in order to improve transportation and trade links with China to less developed western regions.

The CCI aims to establish and further advance the current land-sea transport connectivity by linking the maritime and overland infrastructures of the BRI. The said project is expected to connect western China to Southeast Asia and the rest of the world via Singapore.

In an interview, Prime Minister Lee said, "We see this as a very ambitious and important initiative. We are very glad that it has the full support of the Chinese government."

The Belt and Road Initiative is the flagship foreign policy and development strategy of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Propose by President Xi himself in 2013, the BRI project has by far inked 173 deals with 125 countries and 29 international organizations to join the project in various capabilities.

Regarding the BRI project, Prime Minister Lee said, "It is a project which will take many years to bring to fruition, and will probably be one which will never have an ending point."

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