SINGAPORE: Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao proposed on Thursday China and Singapore step up collaboration in defense and security.
In proposing the priorities for deepening cooperation of mutual benefit for the years ahead, Hu listed defense and security as a key area.
"We hope the two sides would strengthen exchange, upgrade cooperation level, and vigorously conduct collaboration in humanitarian relief, joint marine search and rescue operations, and in fighting terrorism and securing the safety of passage through the Malacca Straits," Hu told Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Before flying to Singapore for a three-day official visit on Wednesday, Hu journeyed to the historic city of Malacca and visited the Straits of Malacca, the longest and busiest straits in the world.
Lee said the two sides should learn from each other, and their cooperation should extent from bilateral to multi-lateral occasions.
He said China has played a key role in addressing the global financial crisis, and will continue to wield important influence in the "post-crisis" era.
"The steady, dynamic and prosperous development of Chinese economy is conducive to the economic recovery in Asia as well as the world," Lee said during their talks Thursday morning.
Hu said China's smooth and rapid economic expansion would generate tremendous business opportunities for Singapore and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Hu said China supported the two sides to engage in discussions about world economic situation and how it evolves and changes, and about how to harness the challenges brought forth by the globalization.
"The two countries can also continuously step up coordination in multi-lateral fora, such as East Asia cooperation, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the United Nations, so as to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity of the region, and the world at large," Hu said.
Lee said Singapore welcomed the enhanced collaboration between China and ASEAN, and hailed China’s active participation in Asia-Pacific regional cooperation.
Singapore is ready to work close with China in G20 and other international organizations, he added.
Both leaders agreed that Sino-Singaporean relations are full of vigor, and that the two countries should strive to push their ties to higher level.
New areas of cooperation proposed by Lee include urban planning, water treatment, environmental protection and social harmony, all are the spheres that Singapore has an edge.
Hu said the two sides should continue to implement well the Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city, the two China-Singapore inter-governmental flagship projects.
The Suzhou Industrial Park has become a model for other industrial parks in China. It was launched in 1994 and has transferred Singapore's industrial expertise to China. The Tianjin project officially started last year, and part of its ambitions is reportedly to transform non-arable land into a thriving and vibrant city, where ecological rehabilitation is sensitively balanced with urban development.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of several agreements, including one that promises to offer two pandas to Singapore to mark the 20th anniversary of bilateral ties that falls in 2010.
Other deals included one signed by foreign ministries of the two countries for exchanges and training of officials from 2010 to 2014; and one for establishing a China Culture Center in Singapore.