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Old 26th April 2007, 09:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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S'pore, Beijing agree to jointly develop eco-city in China

BEIJING: In a move to take bilateral relations to a strategic level, Singapore and China have agreed to jointly-develop an environmentally-friendly city.

This decision was made in a meeting between Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing on Wednesday.

Both leaders agreed to pursue this idea with an existing Chinese city and the project will be taken up by the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation.

The Suzhou Industrial Park is an icon of bilateral cooperation between Singapore and China, the success of which has led many other Chinese local governments asking Singapore to recreate the "Suzhou model" in their provinces.

While Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would like to see Singapore transfer new software and new knowledge to Suzhou Industrial Park, both countries are also looking at developing an eco-city.

Details including the choice of the Chinese city are still being worked out.

But Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said he hopes to put up a proposal to the Chinese side very soon.

Senior Minister Goh said one way is to form a consortium of companies to do this, with the support of government agencies.

It will be just like how Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Ministry helped Keppel, with its waste management project in Qatar.

Mr Wen said he looks forward to settling details of this new project when he visits Singapore in November.

"The idea of getting a city to grow and sustain its development using Singapore's experiences is an example of bringing relations to a new level because it will benefit companies working with this and benefit a city as well as the two countries' cooperation," said Mr Goh.

Observers say, the new eco-city will be an important symbol of cooperation between the new leadership of Singapore and China. - CNA/yy

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