Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan [Photo/China Daily] Singapore welcomes Chinese companies to submit bids on the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail, Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan has said. In a written interview with China Daily, he said Singapore recognizes China's experience and expertise. The international request for bids, to be conducted in a fair and transparent manner, will be jointly put out by Singapore and Malaysia later this year, he said. The minister, in an official visit to China from Sunday to Monday, noted that the project aims to improve connectivity among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Regarding the Belt and Road Initiative, Balakrishnan called Singapore an early and strong supporter and said China and Singapore can work together to add value to the initiative. The two countries can further consider the joint provision of training for officials from the Belt and Road countries, and encourage think tanks to conduct joint research on topics related to the Belt and Road, he said. Singapore has been China's largest foreign investor as well as China's top trading partner within ASEAN. Singapore will continue to support Chinese companies as more venture abroad, he said. Speaking of bilateral ties, he said Singapore and China share a close and longstanding friendship, and this partnership also reflects the long term strength of our bilateral ties and the bright prospects for the future. While the two countries have their respective national interests, there are no fundamental strategic disagreements, he said. We both need regional peace and stability. We both depend on free and open trade, he added. On China-ASEAN ties, Balakrishnan said ASEAN's strategic partnership with China is strong, substantive and multifaceted, and both sides need to boost two-way tourist visits and promote people-to-people exchanges. We will continue to actively advance ASEAN-China relations in the remaining year of our ASEAN-China coordinatorship, part of which will coincide with Singapore's Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2018, he said. We look forward to working closely with our ASEAN colleagues and with China to bring the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership to greater heights, he added. On the South China Sea issue, the minister said the South China Sea situation has been calm and there have been no major disruptions in the past year, and the complicated issue must be resolved by the claimant states themselves. Singapore is glad to be able to contribute effectively to the good progress made on the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, signed by China and ASEAN members in 2002, and the consultations on the Code of Conduct thus far, he said. I welcome the progress made by our officials in finalizing the framework for the COC in Guiyang last month, he said. personalized rubber bracelets
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Many sectors of Chinese society mourned the death of renowned Hong Kong philanthropist and prominent industrialist Tin Ka-ping, who died at the age of 99 in the city on Tuesday morning.Leading the tributes was the central government's top representative in Hong Kong, Wang Zhiming, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Wang expressed his sorrow over Tin's death on Wednesday.He said he respected and appreciated Tin's lifelong love for the country and his great contribution to education in China.Tin cared about society and promoted public welfare in ways that will benefit future generations, Wang said.Joining him was Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. She said on Tuesday that Tin not only made significant contributions to the industrial development of Hong Kong but was also devoted to philanthropy over the past few decades, both in the special administrative region and on the mainland.Lam said she was grieved to learn of Tin's passing and extended condolences to his family.Hong Kong's Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yunhung said the Tin Ka Ping Foundation funded various educational institutions, from kindergartens to universities, as well as several scholarship and exchange programs that benefit a large number of local students.Born in Guangdong province, Tin moved to Hong Kong in 1958. He was successful in his early days in the chemicals business and later made a fortune in real estate. He devoted his life to promoting the development of charities, donating 80 percent of his total assets to different fields, especially education.So far, the foundation, a nonprofit charity founded by Tin in 1982, has funded 318 education institutions, more than 1,800 rural libraries, 29 hospitals and about 130 bridges and roads across 34 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China.Educational institutions that were funded by Tin in both Hong Kong and the mainland also expressed both sorrow and appreciation.The University of Hong Kong said that Tin was a selfless educator and philanthropist who had contributed immensely to the development of teaching, learning and research in Hong Kong and on the mainland.Zhejiang University posted a tribute to Tin on its social media account. Tin provided money to establish the Tin Ka Ping Academy on the Xixi campus of the university. As it is the place where most students go for classes, the building bears witness to students' growth, the university said.Tin's name and the building have been integrated into the university, the post said.Other universities and middle schools in different provinces, including Guangdong, Sichuan, Yunnan, Jiangsu, also mourned Tin. All of them have received donations. 
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