Full coverage: 2017 NPC & CPPCC Sessions
By Tom McGregor, CCTV.com Panview Opinion page commentator and editor
The City-State Singapore has long enjoyed global recognition as a hub for trade and investments in the southeast Asian region. Singapore has risen to prosperity with a hard-working and educated workforce.
It's enjoyed social stability, while the lessons learned from success can be passed down to generations of Singaporeans and serve as inspiration for other nations.
Acting as a role model for government and business transparency and a trailblazer for sustainable development, Singapore has endeared itself to Beijing when China pursued reform and opening up policies in the past few decades.
China and Singapore have witnessed remarkable cooperation on diplomatic and economic fronts. They signed a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and are negotiating new upgrades for the FTA.
Bilateral relations are impressive and the Singaporean ambassador to China Stanley Loh granted an exclusive interview to CCTV.com's 'Meet the Diplomats’ host Li Shou’en to speak about his City-State's “special and unique relationship” with China.
Greenlighting big-time projects
The Singaporean ambassador also pointed to three major cooperation projects that were developed in China, which include construction of Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin's Eco-City and development of Chongqing connectivity plans.
Singapore launched Suzhou Industrial Park 23 years ago, which had helped to jumpstart China's boom times as a manufacturing and exports-driven nation. Annual GDP (gross domestic product) annual growth rates soared high and for some years there were double-digit growth rates.
Later on, Beijing pursued sustainable development rather than high-speed growth. China sought to tackle pollution and Singapore took part in constructing Tianjin's Eco-City, a large port city located near Beijing.
The concept was simple: Build a town that utilizes green energy resources and encourage eco-friendly companies to base operations there.
Global dreams get real
Nowadays, Chinese President Xi Jinping is laying the groundwork for the Belt & Road Initiative that would boost more cross-border trade and investments with Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe region.
Plans are underway to build major infrastructure projects, such as more roads, railways, transport and energy hubs to bridge global trading partners in isolated regions so they can conduct business with larger cities in the B&R sphere.
Additionally, Singapore is making tremendous progress to make Chongqing more “connective” by cooperating with Chinese companies to construct more transport, IT and financial hubs that would allow Chongqing to get closer connected with B&R member states.
Beijing is playing a more active role in globalism and Singapore welcomes China's efforts. The Singaporean ambassador believes China has made a positive impact on international affairs by initiating the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) and Belt & Road.
Impactful solutions for centuries to come
Loh has also taken notice of Beijing’s nationwide crackdown on corruption, which he insists “will be impactful to China for centuries to come.”
Pollution remains a staggering problem for the country as well, but Chinese companies are investing into green energy companies and that means “measures will take time to fully realize on Climate Change,” he said.
Singapore is considered a City-State that has both rooted out the scourge of corruption while its citizens can breathe in more fresh air. It was not easy for Singapore to champion these causes, but worth the effort.
Vibrant relations for glowing future
Singapore has learned from its experiences on how to pursue sustainable development with positive results. Its Government hopes to share its lessons with Beijing, so China can embark on a similar success story.
Singaporean ambassador Stanley Loh has lived in Beijing for five years and he encourages the Chinese to continue to open their arms to globalism and to step ahead on boosting relations with ASEAN (Association od Southeast Asian Nations).
The two countries have risen to prosperity together and they can maintain good economic and diplomatic ties for now and the long-term future.
Tom McGregor, CCTV.com Panview Opinion page commentator and editor
(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)
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