PM Lee on first-ever visit to China's western Xinjiang autonomous region

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, flanked by Mrs Lee and Xinjiang chairman Nur Bekri, looking at a 3,800-year old female mummy, during his tour of the Xinjiang Ugyhur Autonomous Region Museum in Urumqi capital on Tuesday morning. -- ST PHOTO: KOR KIAN
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, flanked by Mrs Lee and Xinjiang chairman Nur Bekri, looking at a 3,800-year old female mummy, during his tour of the Xinjiang Ugyhur Autonomous Region Museum in Urumqi capital on Tuesday morning. -- ST PHOTO: KOR KIAN BENG

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has kicked off his first-ever visit to China's western Xinjiang autonomous region, seeking to understand and explore new areas of bilateral collaboration in China's less-developed areas.

Accompanied by the region's chairman Nur Bekri, PM Lee toured the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum in the Urumqi capital on Tuesday morning, where he saw exhibits recounting the origins and cultures of the 13 minority groups such as the Tajik people.

He then visited the Goldwind wind turbine generator-manufacturing company, China's largest with a 19.5 per cent market share.

Later today, PM Lee will meet with Urumqi leaders for lunch, followed by a campus tour of the Xinjiang Normal University where he will interact with faculty staff and students.

Xinjiang party boss Zhang Chunxian will host him to a dinner at the Xinjiang State Guesthouse on Wednesday night.

PM Lee is on a week-long official visit and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Monday. He will spend three days in Xinjiang before heading to northeastern Shenyang city in Liaoning province.

kianbeng@sph.com.sg