BEIJING, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Singapore from Nov. 12 to 16 will push forward bilateral ties, advance China-ASEAN cooperation and boost regional economic integration in East Asia, a senior official said Thursday.
Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong told a press briefing that at the invitation of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Li is scheduled to pay his first official visit to Singapore, attend the 21st China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders' meeting, the 21st ASEAN-China, Japan and Republic of Korea (10+3) leaders' meeting and the 13th East Asia Summit.
Singapore, an important neighboring country of China, assumes the ASEAN presidency this year.
With frequent high-level exchanges and fruitful cooperation results, China-Singapore ties have maintained a positive momentum at present, Chen said, stressing that Li's upcoming visit to Singapore is of great importance.
Li and the Singaporean leaders are expected to speed up the two countries' cooperation on the Belt and Road, innovation and multilateral trade, Chen said.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership. Noting the rising challenges of protectionism and unilateralism, Chen reiterated China advocates regional cooperation.
With over 30 new initiatives scheduled to be proposed, China hopes all sides will safeguard multilateralism, free trade and international rules, so as to contribute to regional economic integration, peace, development and stability, Chen stressed.
China has always viewed ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, Chen said, adding that it is hoped the Belt and Road Initiative will be closely aligned with ASEAN's development plans and achieve mutually beneficial results.
During the 21st China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders' meeting, China and ASEAN will release a statement on innovation cooperation and set 2019 as China-ASEAN media exchange year, according to Chen.
The improvement of China-Japan ties and China-ROK ties this year has provided the three countries with more cooperation opportunities and injected new impetus for the 21st ASEAN-China, Japan and Republic of Korea (10+3) leaders' meeting, Chen said.
Regarding the 13th East Asia Summit, Chen said China hopes all sides will strengthen strategic communication, boost pragmatic cooperation, deepen mutual understanding and reach consensus.
At the summit, China will announce cooperation programs on such fields as energy, natural resources and geoscience for the purpose of promoting regional peace, development and prosperity.