一則明報沒有報的新聞

1. 如下題: 中國送兩隻熊貓給新加坡.

2. 問題: 為何新加坡在中國外交策略上佔如此重要的地位?


China sending two pandas to Singapore From Straits Times

SINGAPORE is getting a pair of black and white furry envoys from China to mark the milestone of 20 years of diplomatic relations.
Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao announced yesterday at an Istana state banquet that a pair of giant pandas will be delivered to Singapore, as he expressed confidence that Singapore-Sino relations will reach ‘a new high’.
The endangered creatures, which China rarely sends overseas, will arrive here in 2011 and Chinese diplomacy experts believe it is a sign of deepening friendship between the two nations.
‘It reflects the importance of Singapore in China’s foreign policy. Beijing does not send out pandas lightly,’ said international relations analyst Shi Yinhong of Renmin University.
Singapore joins an exclusive club of overseas panda hosts, becoming only the seventh country since 1994 to receive the black and white creatures from China.
The pair of pandas, a one-year-old female and a two-year-old male, are from the Wolong panda reserve in China’s south-western Sichuan province.
After a period of acclimatisation in Singapore, they will be unveiled to the public as the resident stars of the new $140 million River Safari, slated to open in 2012. The furry creatures will be here for a joint research on pandas and will stay for 10 years.
‘The presence of giant pandas in Singapore would deeply capture the hearts of Singaporeans across all walks of life,’ said the Singapore Foreign Ministry in a statement yesterday.
‘They would also be a fitting symbol of the close friendship and strong ties between Singapore and China as we celebrate 20 years of diplomatic relations next year.’
President SR Nathan, who hosted the five-course banquet in honour of Mr Hu and his wife, hailed the anniversary as ‘the cusp of a new chapter’ in bilateral relations.
‘Singapore remains committed to being a close partner in China’s developmental process. Our two flagship projects – the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin Eco-city – symbolise the close ties and deep mutual understanding between Singapore and China,’ said Mr Nathan, in a dinner attended by several Singapore Cabinet ministers, including Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.
Mr Nathan added that Mr Hu’s three-day state visit – his first since he assumed the presidency in 2003 – is a significant milestone in ties between the two countries.
After congratulating Mr Hu on the impressive parade at the Tiananmen Square on Oct 1 during China’s 60th National Day, Mr Nathan assured the Chinese leader that Singapore wants an economically vibrant and successful China, playing a role in the region along with other major powers.
‘Singapore wants China to continue to grow and succeed in all its endeavours. We also believe China’s continued engagement with Asia will progress with shared understanding and consensus among the nations of Asia,’ he said.
Mr Hu, who arrived here yesterday after a state visit in Malaysia, said that he was ‘deeply impressed’ with the new developments in Singapore since his last visit in 2002.
‘With a government known for its efficiency, pragmatism and enterprising spirit, and a people hard-working, talented and constantly striving for improvements, you have made remarkable achievements in building a modern country that enjoys political stability, economic prosperity and social harmony,’ he said, after reviewing the Guard of Honour at the Istana.
Mr Hu also met President Nathan and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew for talks yesterday, with the Chinese leader praising Mr Lee as the founder of Sino-Singapore relations. Their meeting stretched half an hour longer than its scheduled 45 minutes.
Mr Hu will meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and SM Goh today, before giving an address at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO summit tomorrow and joining a politically star-studded ensemble of Apec leaders at Suntec City and the Istana this weekend.
For now, though, the buzz is all about the black and white cuddly ambassadors from China. ‘I think the pandas will be great attractions, especially for families because kids will love them,’ said auditor Jasmine Koh, 23.
‘This is really exciting news. I can’t wait to see them.’
shpeh@sph.com.sg
Additional reporting by Lin Zhaowei
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