SINGAPORE, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that Singapore greatly expects the newly-launched project with China on inter-connectivity cooperation to play a demonstrative role in the development of western China.
Singapore's latest cooperation project with China is one of the three China-Singapore joint projects, namely Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-City and the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative.
China's southwestern city of Chongqing became the operation center of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity on Jan. 8, 2016 to pilot cooperation in fields ranging from financial services, aviation, transportation, and logistics to information communications technology.
"We hope it can work as a model in the development of western China," Lee told Xinhuanet, Xinhua's official website, in an interview on Saturday, referring to the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity, popularly known as the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative.
Based on inter-connectivity and modern service, the new project is aimed at "maximizing the potential of enterprises by facilitating and streamlining their mechanisms, operation and services," Lee said.
In his opinion, transportation presents a big challenge to the development of western China because it is not easy for the vast and resourceful inland region to reach international markets.
As a result, a southward route is under discussion within the framework of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative. With the related railway already available, it is currently about streamlining procedures to reduce time and cost for exports, he noted.
Lee also reviewed the other two flagship government-to-government cooperative projects, namely the Suzhou Industrial Park established in 1994 in China's eastern province of Jiangsu, and the Tianjin Eco-city inaugurated in 2008 in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin.
The Suzhou Industrial Park, the largest cooperative project between China and Singapore, covers an area of 278 square km and accounts for only 3.4 percent of the city's land area, has created 15 percent of the city's GDP.
The Tianjin Eco-City was designed to become an international eco-city sample with a population of 350,000 and all green buildings in 10 years, featuring its new industries including movies and animation, financial, new energy and green industries, as well as internet industry.
Meanwhile, the Singaporean leader said that personnel training programs between Singapore and China have also provided a great platform for mutual learning and exchanges for government officials, which are "very useful" to both countries despite different national conditions.
Lee also believes that Singapore should learn from China in mobile payment, as China is the world's fastest runner in this field with numerous cities enjoying cashless society. "I want to encourage Singaporeans to learn from your experiences. We should be able to do this too," he said.
On China's huge changes over the past decades, Lee praised China's economic success, technological achievements and progress in people's well-being, saying that a successful, prosperous and self-confident China is also beneficial to the whole world.
The Singaporean leader will pay an official visit to China on Sept. 19-21 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The two sides are expected to exchange views on bilateral ties and issues of common concern, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Friday.