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ASEAN 'must not take sides in disputes' (2)

By  Wang Chenyan and Cheng Guangjin  (China Daily)

08:26, September 07, 2012

Ties: Cooperation stressed

Zhang Jiuhuan, former Chinese ambassador to Singapore, said Singapore has maintained close contact with both the East and the West, and views itself as "a bridge" between the two.

Lee pointed out wisdom is required from both Beijing and Washington to develop trust since their ties are the most important in the world.

Former ambassador Zhang said that China was not against the US in the region.

"Beijing also hopes Washington to be a stabilizing factor in the region. The key point is it must be truly positive and constructive. But what it has done within the region is quite the opposite. Its strategic shift back to Asia has actually increased suspicion among Asian countries," Zhang argued.

Lee met Premier Wen Jiabao later on Thursday and both leaders vowed to advance China-Singapore cooperation and cooperation between China and ASEAN.

"The development of China-Singapore relationship benefits people in both countries, and has a broad and positive influence in East Asia," Wen said, urging more cooperation in areas including investment, finance and the green economy.

China hopes Singapore continues to play an important role in uniting China and ASEAN and deepening cooperation, Wen said.

"China's development is good for both Asia and the world," Lee said.

Lee began his third visit to China since taking office in 2004 from Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan province on Sunday afternoon, and carried on to Tianjin, where the Sino-Singapore Eco-city is located.

Trade between Singapore and China has surged after the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1990. Singapore is China's third-largest trading partner among ASEAN member states. Trade in 2011 reached $63.48 billion, up 11.2 percent.

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