Singapore PM Lee looks forward to more exchanges with Xiamen
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) shakes hands with You Quan (right), Party secretary of Fujian province, during a meeting on Sept 21 in Xiamen, Fujian province. [Photo/ fujian.gov.cn]
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sept 21 that he hoped his visit to Xiamen, Fujian province — the second and final leg of his three-day trip to China — will lead to more exchanges and projects between Singapore and the southeastern Chinese city.
At a meeting with You Quan, Party secretary of Fujian province, Lee marveled at how much the city had changed since his last visit 26 years ago.
Lee praised Xiamen's vibrancy, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial zeal, and added that he was eager to see more cooperation between his state and Xiamen.
You said that, thanks to its designation as one of China's four special economic zones after China's reform and opening up, Xiamen has witnessed rapid development in the past three decades.
During his stay in Xiamen, Lee attended a ceremony to unveil the reconstructed Xiamen branch of Singaporean bank OCBC on Zhongshan Road on Sept 21.
The bank's presence in Xiamen can be traced to 1925 when Ho Hong Bank, one of OCBC's founding banks, opened its first branch in Xiamen.
After the ceremony, the Singaporean delegation, headed by Lee, took a walk around Zhongshan Road, the heart of Xiamen's commercial area.
Lee spoke highly of Xiamen's efforts to protect cultural heritage as he saw that the "qilou", or arcade houses, along the road are well preserved. Lee also tried savory peanut soup, a refreshing specialty in Fujian province.
On the day, the delegation also paid a visit to the Fujian (Xiamen)-Singapore Friendship Polyclinic, the first polyclinic jointly set up by Singapore and China.
Jointly built by Singaporean organizations and the Xiamen municipal government in 2009, the facility serves as an important platform for medical exchanges and training programs.
Lee was briefed on the polyclinic's development and Xiamen municipal government's efforts to implement the hierarchical medical system and family doctor system.
Before travelling to Xiamen on Sept 20, Lee met Chinese President Xi Jinping and agreed on the evaluation of bilateral ties between China and Singapore.