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Eco-city Pact Inked with Singapore

China and Singapore finalized a flagship eco-city project in Tianjin to consolidate bilateral ties.

Premier Wen Jiabao and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong signed several agreements, including one on the Eco-City Framework Agreement, after a 70-minute meeting. Wen is on a five-day official visit to the city state - the first by a Chinese premier in eight years.

The bilateral relations between China and Singapore have seen big progress and have turned to a track of rapid, stable and mature development, though the two countries established diplomatic ties only 17 years ago, Wen said during the talks.

Strengthening bilateral cooperation, which is a common aspiration, conforms to the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples and is conducive to promoting peace and prosperity in the region, Wen said.

The first China-Singapore flagship project was the Suzhou Industrial Park, launched in 1994, which became a resounding success. It helped transfer Singapore's industrial expertise to China, and became a model of sorts for other industrial parks in the country.

The eco-city will be built in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin Municipality, a State-level strategic development area approved by the State Council in 2005 for its huge potential for economic growth.

The eco-city will comprise a 30-sq-km "town", combining modern living, recreational and business facilities.

Tianjin and Singapore will form a joint venture for the project, but specifics of its form and the proportion of the two sides' capital inputs have not been decided.

Wen and Lee told the press they discussed bilateral cooperation, a free trade area, the cross-Taiwan Straits situation and the Myanmar issue.

Stronger bilateral ties are in the interests of both countries and will help maintain peace and prosperity in the region, Wen said.

Lee described China's ties with Singapore as being "deep and strong" in many areas. "Our relations are good because it's based on compatible strategic views on the region and of China's development and peaceful emergence. So we believe there is room for us to work together in many specific areas for mutual benefit."

On the Myanmar issue, Wen said China supports UN-brokered efforts. But the efforts of Myanmar's people are more important for peace, stability and development.

Lee assured Wen that his country insists on the one-China policy and opposes Taiwan independence.

The two leaders officiated at the launch of Singapore-China Foundation, which aims to strengthen cooperation in education and human resources development, and boost bilateral understanding.

(China Daily/Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2007)

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