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  Straits Times 9 Sep 07
China's first eco-city ready to take shape
Located on an island off Shanghai, the project is eventually expected to be home for 400,000

Straits Times 7 Sep 07
S'pore, China to soon sign pact on eco-city
Site selection for joint project is critical for success, SM Goh says after meeting Wen

Straits Times 12 Jul 07
Four possible eco-city locations selected
Sarah Ng

Today Online 12 Jul 07
Eco-City: Greening Sino-S'pore ties
New project will give both countries opportunity to explore third-country market
Johnson Choo

Channel NewsAsia 11 Jul 07
Proposed Eco-City likely to be located in northern China

Channel NewsAsia 12 Jul 07
Framework of Eco-City project in China to be ready by Nov 2007

SINGAPORE : China's Construction Ministry and Singapore's National Development Ministry have been tasked to begin detailed discussions for an Eco-City project in China. The framework is expected to be ready by November 2007.

Amid mounting global warming concerns, China has pledged to do more for the environment. By 2010, it wants to realise a 10 percent cut in pollutants discharge and a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption per unit of GDP, from its 2005 levels.

To achieve that, China will invest more than 1 trillion yuan in energy conservancy and emission reduction.

"Singapore is globally famed for urban construction and environmental management. Americans and Japanese have all shown keen interest and aspiration for cooperation in these aspects. I hope visionary business people in Singapore can move first and acquire an early advantage," says China Vice Premier Wu Yi.

Recognising China's environmental aspirations, Singapore officials were in Beijing recently to brief the Chinese on the Eco-City project. The project aims to be a socially harmonious, environmentally friendly, and resource conserving city, and Singapore says the project must be practical and serve as a model across China.

Business opportunities abound for Singapore companies, especially in the areas of city planning, landscaping, and water technologies.

The Singapore government says private sector participation will be critical, just like it was in the Suzhou Industrial Park.

The Eco-City project will be the Singapore government's second major undertaking in China, after Suzhou.

So what lessons have been learnt?

"There must be a high level of attention, there must be commitment from the leadership of both sides and in particular from the leadership of the local government and the determination to see the project through," says Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng.

Singapore aims to draw up the framework of the Eco-City project by November this year, because that's when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will be coming to Singapore for a visit.

The two countries have not decided where this Eco-City will be located but many Chinese provincial governments have already expressed interest in hosting this iconic project. - CNA /ls

Channel NewsAsia 11 Jul 07
Proposed Eco-City likely to be located in northern China

SINGAPORE : China's Vice-Minister for Construction, Qiu Baoxing, revealed on Wednesday that the proposed Eco-City will likely be located in the northern region of China. He was speaking to reporters after an hour-long briefing on Singapore's city and town planning given by the HDB and the URA.

The view from the 32nd floor of the HDB Hub was one to behold, mesmerising the Chinese Vice-Minister who was there to learn about Singapore's urban plans. Mr Qiu and his delegation wasted no time in whipping out their own cameras to capture the landscape.

He later said the success of the Suzhou Industrial Park stems from Singapore's achievements in city planning, which can be replicated in the proposed Eco-City.

Mr Qiu said: "The success and experience of Singapore's urban planning over these decades will be reflected in this Eco-City initiative. And it's a showcase of Singapore and China's efforts in building a city that will be prepared to face the environmental challenges of the future.

"This will be a beneficial place for all to live in, filled with vibrancy. We believe many countries around the world will learn from this collaboration between Singapore and China."

Mr Qiu said Singapore and China are serious about the Eco-City project and will set up a joint committee involving scientists and planners. China has also identified four locations for the project based on some principles.

He said: "In November this year, when China's Premier Wen Jiabao visits Singapore, we may sign a framework agreement.

We have already identified four locations, based on three principles. They are firstly, not using farmers' land, secondly, we want to make full use of Singapore's world-leading water technology capabilities to tackle the issue of water shortage. Thirdly, the location of this new Eco-City is definitely different from the Suzhou-Singapore Industrial Park.

"The park is now in the south. So we have to find a location in the north for the Eco-City, so that it's nearer to the big cities. So based on the three principles, the Eco-City can be model for other cities to follow."

Mr Qiu was impressed with how Singapore has managed to fully utilise its limited land space.

He said Singapore's long term plans for the city has proven a great success, maintaining its competitiveness among other countries worldwide. So Mr Qiu said many Chinese cities can look to this country as an example. - CNA

Today Online 12 Jul 07
Eco-City: Greening Sino-S'pore ties
New project will give both countries opportunity to explore third-country market
Johnson Choo johnsonchoo@mediacorp.com.sg

THE "Eco-City" project, when implemented, will form one of the main pillars of bilateral relations between Singapore and China, said Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng.

DPM Wong, who co-chaired with China's Vice-Premier Wu Yi, the 4th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) and 9th Suzhou Industrial Park Joint Steering Council (JSC) meetings held over the past two days, said the initial proposal has been well-received by the Chinese.

"We envision a socially harmonious, environmentally-friendly and resource-conserving city which will be a practical and adaptable model for other cities," said DPM Wong. "We hope to draw up and agree on the framework of the 'Eco-City' project by Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Singapore in November."

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong first floated the project idea to Premier Wen and Ms Wu during his visit to China in April this year. China's Ministry of Construction and Singapore's Ministry of National Development have been tasked to form a joint work group to lead discussions on the iconic project's development.

As for the proposed Singapore-China Free Trade Agreement (SCFTA), negotiations are progressing well, with both sides noting its "strategic significance" said DPM Wong. It was agreed the SCFTA would be discussed as an addition to the Asean-China FTA, also known as ACFTA-plus.

"The SCFTA will elevate bilateral relations to a higher strategic plane and will be good for both countries and the region," said DPM Wong.

He added that the SCFTA would help spur the ACFTA process which has settled on concessions for the trading of goods and services since 2002 and strengthen China-Asean relations.

Both countries agreed Singapore would help Chinese companies "go global" by facilitating their listings in Singapore, DPM Wong said. A "greenlane" mechanism will be set up to fast-track listing for Chinese enterprises that meet Singapore's requirements.

Indeed, in a speech to the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, China's Vice-Premier Wu Yi said both countries could take their relationship further and explore "going global together" after both sessions of the JSC and JCBC "achieved great success ... (and) we reached new consensus on furthering cooperation in priority areas."

Speaking warmly of her visit as a chance to "renew fellowship with old and new friends from the industrial and commercial sector," Ms Wu said: "Singapore and China can discuss various ways of cooperation to explore the third-country market, including making joint investments in the third country."

"When conditions allow, Chinese enterprises can be encouraged to transfer part of their production chain to other industrial parks with Singapore investments," she added.

Agreeing, DPM Wong said that despite Singapore's vast experience in the setting up and running of industrial parks, limited resources and the small number of domestic enterprises restrict potential growth beyond the country's borders.

Thus, joint investments with China, which has a large pool of enterprises, would help Singapore expand overseas more efficiently.

Ms Wu suggested three other ways in which Singapore businesses could further grow, with China as a partner.

With its experience and strength in areas such as modern logistics, Singapore services providers can help China realise a total of US$400 billion ($607 billion) worth of trade in services by 2010, and contribute to more than half of China's gross domestic product by 2020, she said.

She also urged Singapore businesses to "acquire an early advantage" over the Americans and Japanese, by moving first to work with China in energy conservation, environmental protection and urban construction.

"We welcome Singapore to continue its participation in the building of old industrial bases in the North-east and strengthen its economic contact with the central and western regions," said Ms Wu. "In particular, we encourage Singapore enterprises to invest in western China and will choose qualified cities to draw upon the mature managerial experiences of Singapore and undertake cooperation projects ... for hi-tech industries."

Straits Times 12 Jul 07
Four possible eco-city locations selected
Sarah Ng

CHINA has selected four possible locations for its eco-city project with Singapore. They are located in the northern part of China, where water is scarce, so as to tap Singapore's expertise in water technology, Vice-Construction Minister Qiu Baoxing said yesterday.

He is the first senior Chinese official to give an idea of what to expect.

The eco-city will not be built on farmland, he added, in an apparent assurance as rapid economic expansion has led to agricultural land being taken over by developers for lucrative projects such as factories and industrial parks.

First mooted by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong during his visit to Beijing in April, the project will use Singapore's expertise in urban planning to build an environmentally-friendly city in China.

Speaking to the media after a meeting with Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu at Toa Payoh HDB Hub, Mr Qiu said in Mandarin: 'The eco-city will showcase Singapore's many years of successful experiences.

'It will also show the world that it is forward-looking and able to deal with global climate changes.' Mr Qiu added that a joint committee comprising experts and urban planners from both countries will work together to develop the city.

Straits Times 7 Sep 07
S'pore, China to soon sign pact on eco-city
Site selection for joint project is critical for success, SM Goh says after meeting Wen

CHINESE Premier Wen Jiabao will sign a framework agreement on the building of an eco-city in China with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when he visits Singapore in November. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong revealed this when speaking to reporters yesterday after meeting Mr Wen on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum conferences here.

During their 30-minute meeting, the two leaders focused on the eco-city project, which Mr Goh first mooted in April when he met Mr Wen in Beijing. The joint project will be a key pillar for ties between the two countries.

Among the issues discussed was the site for the project, which aimed to show how economic development could be balanced with sound environmental protection.

The Chinese have suggested four sites, two of which - Tianjin and Tangshan - Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan is visiting on his current trip to China. A Singapore team has also visited all four sites, Mr Goh said.

However, he added: 'The point I made to Premier Wen was that we should not just limit ourselves to the four sites.' The project is very important and must succeed because others would be watching to see how the Chinese developed their future cities through eco-friendly measures.

'So while the four sites have been offered... we are not closing our minds to other possibilities,' he said.

What is important is that the site chosen 'must meet the factors which will guarantee success for the project'. He also discussed these factors with Mr Wen yesterday.

One of these is that the project must be sustainable, so it has to be located close to a big city to ensure its sustainability over time.

Secondly, it has to be commercially viable, 'and that is where the private sector will be involved, from Singapore and China'.

Finally, it should be replicable because 'it is meant to be a model' for other cities in China.

What is certain is that it will not be built on land meant for agricultural use. The Chinese also prefer that it be built on land where water is scarce to see how recycled water can be used.

The two sides yesterday agreed to sign a framework agreement in November, whether or not a site has been found by then.

Yesterday, the Senior Minister also met Tianjin Mayor Dai Xianglong, who showed interest in the eco-city project and said he is prepared to offer suitable sites in his city for Singapore to consider.

At the briefing, Mr Goh also commented on his meeting on Wednesday with Liaoning party secretary Li Keqiang, who is tipped to be promoted to national leadership soon. 'I found Mr Li young, bright and energetic, with a clear vision of what should be done for Liaoning province, and also for Dalian and Changxing (island),' he said.

He called Mr Li 'a very able man'', predicting that 'he should be able to transform his vision into something concrete for Liaoning'.

Mr Li had told Mr Goh his plans for Liaoning, including the development of Changxing Island, for which Singapore has drawn the master plan.

Noting that China was now emphasising the development of the north-eastern region and would put in the resources to ensure the region's success, Mr Goh said yesterday that Singapore should get in early to take part in this endeavour.

He added that Mr Li would be giving him a proposal on what he wanted to do for Liaoning province. Mr Goh said he will take the plan with him to the Middle East when he makes a new round of visits there next year.

'I will be in a sense trying to promote this part of China to the Arabs,' he said, adding that Singapore would be a party to all this. Mr Goh, who was in Dalian for a three-day visit, begins his private leave today.

Straits Times 9 Sep 07
China's first eco-city ready to take shape
Located on an island off Shanghai, the project is eventually expected to be home for 400,000

DALIAN - CHINA will start building the country's first 'eco-city' on an island off the coast of Shanghai in the new year, the head of the British-based firm designing the project said yesterday.

Mr Peter Head, director of engineering firm Arup, said construction of the Dongtan eco-city is expected to start in early 2008. Planning started in 2005 after Arup signed a multi-million- pound contract with the Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation, which is controlled by the Shanghai municipal government.

The 86-sq-km site is situated on Chongming island at the mouth of the Yangtze River and is surrounded by wetlands.

The first phase, a 1-sq-km plot, is expected to be ready in time for Shanghai's hosting of the 2010 World Expo. Arup is working with a global property firm to market the project and expects the initial 8,000 population to swell to 80,000 by 2015 or 2020, said Mr Head. Eventually, the island should house 400,000.

Residents will be linked to Shanghai by a road and metro line along a massive bridge and tunnel. All energy on the island site will be renewable. No gasoline-fuelled cars will be permitted and farms will grow organic vegetables for local consumption. The roads will be laid out so that walking or cycling to work is quicker than driving, said the British newspaper Guardian Weekly.

Mr Herbert Girardet, a consultant on the project, said: 'The aim is to ensure that people will have to walk for no more than seven minutes from any part of the city to reach a bus or tram stop.'

Apart from Dongtan, Arup also expects to start construction within six months to a year on Langfang, a town in Hebei province which surrounds Beijing and is packed with polluting industry and plagued by water shortages.

'In many ways it (Langfang) is more important than Dongtan because it's more typical of regeneration and development projects in China,' said Mr Head, who was in the north-eastern city of Dalian for the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Located halfway between Beijing and the port city of Tianjin, the Langfang area is home to around 100,000 people in a cluster of villages, but the eco-city will be home to 400,000.

Often, as rural areas in China develop, old streets and homes are cleared away and an infrastructure grid laid out for businesses and homes to fill in.

The Langfang project, funded by both public and private money, will instead keep the footprint of the current villages, which are separated by pear orchards and poplar groves and connected by buses or trams and cycling paths. Waste water from the city will be recycled for irrigation, and organic waste will be converted into compost to help boost the rural economy as the city develops.

The company is also working on plans for projects near Jinan, capital of coastal Shandong province, and the historical city of Suzhou, as well as in a small town on a canal outside Shanghai, Mr Head said.

In April, China and Singapore announced that they will collaborate on a new joint project to develop an 'eco-city'. However, the location has not been decided yet.

On Thursday, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of WEF and the two leaders agreed that they must pick the right site. Reuters

Related articles on Singapore: general environmental issues
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