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Hu meets Singaporean PM, offering pair of pandas

Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met today to exchange views on furthering bilateral cooperation.

Chinese diplomats have said the two leaders will discuss expansion of bilateral cooperation in key sectors.

Representatives of the two countries are expected to sign cooperation agreements after the meeting.

Soon after his arrival in Singapore yesterday afternoon, the Chinese president met his Singaporean counterpart S.R. Nathan and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

China and Singapore set up diplomatic ties 19 years ago, and since then bilateral cooperation has expanded steadily in various sectors.

Singapore is one of China's major trading partners in Asia. Two-way trade reached US$52.4 billion in 2008, up 10.5 percent over the previous year. In October last year, the two countries signed a free trade agreement, which came into force two months later.

During his meeting with Nathan yesterday, President Hu said China attaches great importance to its relations with Singapore and is ready to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, so as to make greater contribution to peace, stability and prosperity of Asia.

Hu emphasized that human resource is a key area of bilateral cooperation, to which both sides have always paid great attention.

Strengthening exchanges between the young people of both countries is conducive to the long-term and stable growth of bilateral links, he said.

The Chinese president said China is ready to provide Singapore with a pair of pandas for joint research in a bid to further enhance the friendly feeling between the two peoples.

During his stay in Singapore, President Hu will also attend the economic leaders meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) slated for Nov. 14-15.


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