President Tony Tan in China for six-day state visit

SINGAPORE President Tony Tan Keng Yam has arrived in Beijing for the start of a six-day state visit to China, as part of a series of activities marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

During the visit, Dr Tan will be hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping to a state banquet at the Great Hall of the People. He will have separate meetings as well with Premier Li Keqiang and top political adviser Yu Zhengsheng.

This marks the first state visit to China by a Singaporean President since 2001, when then President S R Nathan went to the country.

The visit "will showcase our broad, deep and multifaceted relations with China", said a statement released by Singapore's Foreign Ministry yesterday.

Dr Tan was welcomed at Beijing Capital International Airport last night by Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao, Singapore's Ambassador to China Stanley Loh and China's Ambassador to Singapore Chen Xiaodong.

His itinerary will include a visit to Tianjin - about 40 minutes by high-speed rail from the capital - where he will be conferred an honorary doctorate by Nankai University for his contribution to Singapore-China relations.

This is the second time a Singapore leader has been accorded such an honour, after Fudan University conferred an honorary doctorate on then Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in 2005.

In Tianjin, Dr Tan will be hosted by Tianjin Acting Party Secretary and Mayor Huang Xingguo and will visit the Sino-Singapore eco-city - the second government-led project between the two countries - after the Suzhou Industrial Park.

The Foreign Ministry statement also said Dr Tan and Mr Xi will witness a signing ceremony for bilateral agreements in education and research cooperation.

Separately, Dr Tan and Mr Yu will witness a cheque handing-over ceremony for a charity project initiated by the Singaporean community in China, in support of Ludian county in south-western Yunnan province, which was struck by an earthquake last August.

Dr Tan and Mr Yu will also unveil the winning entries of a postcard photography competition held in conjunction with the 25th anniversary celebrations.

Dr Tan will begin his visit today with a visit to the National Library of China, where he and his wife Mary Tan will present 300 Singapore-themed books to the library, under the National Library Board of Singapore's SG50 Gift of Books project.

On this trip, he is accompanied by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu, who is also Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

Dr Tan is also accompanied by Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for National Development and Trade and Industry, as well as MPs and officials.

chengwee@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2015, with the headline 'President Tony Tan in China for six-day state visit'. Print Edition | Subscribe