BEIJING, Dec 5 — Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong will be making an official visit to China from Tuesday (Dec 5) to Friday to attend the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) forum as its co-chair, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

During the four-day trip, Mr Wong will visit Beijing and Tianjin at the invitation of Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang, and will also call on Chinese Premier Li Qiang, who took office in March.

This will be Mr Wong’s second official visit to China since he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister. Mr Wong, who is next in line to be Singapore’s Prime Minister, previously visited the country in May where he reaffirmed bilateral ties and took stock of cooperation between the two countries.

Both Mr Wong and Mr Ding will co-chair the JCBC on Thursday in Tianjin.

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Now in its 19th iteration, the annual forum is the highest platform for both countries to review areas for bilateral cooperation between Singapore and China.

"The JCBC is the institutionalised annual apex-level platform that reviews the substantive collaboration between Singapore and China and charts the direction for cooperation between the two countries," said PMO.

This is the first time Mr Wong is co-chairing the JCBC, taking over Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat who chaired last year’s forum held in Singapore.

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A total of 19 agreements were inked that year, such as those relating to green development and finance, public health as well as innovation cooperation.

For 2023, the upcoming JCBC will mark the first one since both nations upgraded their bilateral relationship to an “All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented Partnership” earlier this year.

Apart from the apex forum, Mr Wong and Mr Ding will also be chairing related joint steering councils to review three "flagship government-to-government projects" under the JCBC, namely the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City and the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity.

They will take part in activities in Tianjin to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Tianjin Eco-City, said PMO.

Mr Wong is also slated to meet Secretary of the Communist Party of China Tianjin Municipal Committee Chen Min’er, Vice Premier of the State Council He Lifeng and Minister of Finance Lan Fo’an.

He will also be meeting Singaporeans in Beijing during the trip.

The Singapore delegation also includes several Cabinet ministers. They are Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs Mohamad Maliki Osman, and Acting Minister for Transport Chee Hong Tat.

Other political office holders and senior officials from the various ministries and agencies will also accompany Mr Wong during the visit. — TODAY