Beijing, April 4 (Zhongxin Net) -- In the past few days, China has welcomed an "old friend." Since March 1, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has embarked on a six-day official visit to China.

Recently, Chen Gang, assistant director of the Institute of East Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, said in an interview with that Lee Hsien Loong's itinerary for this visit to China is quite considerate, and sends two signals: first, he hopes to strengthen ties with China; Second, in the face of the complex and ever-changing international situation, adhere to regional cooperation and demonstrate important support for a series of regional and global initiatives put forward by China.

Data map: On April 2018, 4, the Boao Forum for Asia 10 Annual Conference opened in Boao, Hainan Province. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. Photo by China News Agency reporter Du Yang

[Three "firsts" look forward to a "higher level" in Singapore-China relations]

Lee Hsien Loong, one of the most visited foreign leaders, is his second time in China after four years.

In recent years, bilateral economic and trade cooperation between China and Singapore has been continuously improved, and the data performance is quite eye-catching. According to the website of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since 2013, China has been Singapore's largest trading partner for nine consecutive years, and Singapore has been China's largest source of new investment for many consecutive years. In 9, bilateral trade between China and Singapore was US$2022.1151 billion, a year-on-year increase of 3.22%.

On March 3, Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Guangzhou to visit self-driving technology companies and test rides in self-driving minibuses, before meeting Singaporeans in China to learn about their living conditions.

During the visit, Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore's overall relationship with China is very good, China is pushing forward with new policies in the next stage of development, and Singapore looks forward to "taking its relationship with China to the next level".

Chen Gang said that Guangzhou is an important gateway city for China to open to Southeast Asia, and as one of the important economic centers in the south, it has always had very close ties with Singapore.

Chen Gang believes that Lee Hsien Loong's visit to Guangzhou "reflects his desire to further play an important role as a bridge between China and Southeast Asian countries, and also reflects Singapore's willingness to actively participate in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area." ”

Data map: On January 2020, 1, local time, the "Belt and Road" International Regatta Singapore Station was held in the waters near Sentosa, Singapore. The picture shows the scene of the event. Photo by Yu Jing, reporter of the China News Agency

[Delivering support "China plays a pivotal role"]

On March 3, Lee Hsien Loong attended the opening ceremony of the 30 Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in Hainan and delivered a speech, saying, "China is a very important economy in Asia and plays a pivotal role in cooperation in all aspects. ”

He called on Asian countries to continue to promote economic cooperation and friendly relations between China and regional countries, while deepening cooperation between them.

In this regard, Chen Gang said that the Boao Forum for Asia has been held for many years and plays an increasingly important role in promoting economic and trade cooperation in Asia, and is the gateway for China's further opening up. Lee Hsien Loong's presence at this forum is an important support for a series of regional and global initiatives put forward by China.

For example, Chen Gang said that in the past decade, the "Belt and Road" initiative has achieved great results, becoming an important driving force for the economic development of countries along the route, and also promoting globalization and regionalization. Its basic concepts include practicing multilateralism, attaching importance to infrastructure construction, environmental protection, and digital economy. This initiative has been widely recognized around the world.

Draft: China News Network Wang Luyao

It is worth noting that the current world is full of uncertainties. Chen Gang pointed out that on the one hand, economic and trade cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries has developed rapidly, and the process of East Asian economic integration has been accelerating since the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). On the other hand, geopolitical tensions, rising trade protectionism and anti-globalization trends have challenged regional peace, prosperity and integration. To this end, Lee Hsien Loong hoped that all countries would achieve reconciliation and cooperation, ease tensions and promote regional integration.

At the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, Lee Hsien Loong also made it clear, "We welcome China's continued economic opening up, and we are pleased to see China's continued support for multilateralism and regional cooperation, and hope that all parties can contribute more actively to regional and global development and prosperity for the benefit of Asia and the world." ”

Chen Gang believes that China is now the world's second largest economy, and Chinese-style modernization has provided an important driving force for the growth of the world economy. At the same time, many countries have fallen into the middle-income trap and their economies have stagnated for many years, and Chinese-style modernization has provided a development model for these countries, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. (End)