Nation will align Belt and Road Initiative with Singapore’s strategies, Li says. Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed on Thursday China’s commitment to continue expanding opening-up and ensure that Chinese and foreign businesses will always be treated as equals.

Li said in a meeting with Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister and Financial Minister Heng Swee Keat that China will open wider to the world, and it welcomes businesses from various countries, including those from Singapore, to expand their investment in China.

China will make unrelenting efforts to improve the business environment, encourage fair competition and cooperation and enable mutually beneficial outcomes, he said.

China’s opening-up has not only benefited its own people, but also brought about massive opportunities for global growth, he added.

Li said China stands ready to maintain close, high-level exchanges and enable better alignment between the Belt and Road Initiative and Singapore’s development strategies.

He urged both sides to move forward with cooperation in the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, a trade and logistics passage jointly built by western Chinese provincial regions and Singapore, and jointly explore third-party markets.

Bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, finance, smart city development, and cooperation between Chinese provincial regions and cities with Singapore, should also be deepened, he said.

China is willing to jointly uphold rules-based free trade and promote regional and global peace and development together with Singapore, he added.

Heng, who is currently on a week long visit to China starting from Wednesday, said bilateral relations are at a high point as the two countries are set to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year.

He said Singapore is willing to step up high-level exchanges and deepen pragmatic cooperation in various areas with China, adding that the country is willing to play a positive role in promoting relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Heng expressed his confidence in the Chinese economy in an interview before his China visit.

“China is now a big continental economy, and even within China itself the stimulation of domestic consumption and the continual upgrading of many aspects infrastructure, environment, as well as better provision of healthcare, housing, education all these will be major drivers of growth for China in the years ahead,” he told Xinhua News Agency.

He also hailed the BRI as a strategic and forward-looking initiative.

“We have been a very early supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative because we see the strategic value of this initiative and how it can be a key enabler for the next stage of regional as well as global economic development,” he said.