Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday, beginning his three-day official visit to the country to promote stronger cooperation between ASEAN and China.
Here are five things you need to know about Lee's China visit:
- Lee's visit comes following turbulent times in recent months, which includes the ongoing disputes over the South China Sea and the absence of Lee from Beijing's "Belt and Road" summit in May.
- Singapore heads the Association of Southeast Asian Nations next year and would be at the forefront of the region's relations with China next year. Singapore's three-year term as country coordinator between China and Asean began in 2015 and will end at the next meeting.
- Lee is eager not to miss out on China's "Belt and Road" global trade-and-infrastructure initiative. Singapore accounted for one-third of China's outward investment in "Belt and Road" countries last year, data from China's commerce ministry showed.
- According media reports, the two leaders are expected to discuss the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative – a joint project to boost regional connectivity by providing a direct trade route between China and Southeast Asia.
- Lee is due to meet with President Xi Jinping later Wednesday, after meeting three other members of the Communist Party's supreme Politburo Standing Committee: Premier Li Keqiang, national legislature chief Zhang Dejiang and top graft-buster Wang Qishan.