SINGAPORE – Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Singapore on Friday (Nov 6) evening, kick-starting his two-day state visit to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations and to launch new initiatives for bilateral cooperation.
He and his wife Peng Liyuan emerged from a private jet at Changi Airport and will head to the Istana where Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam will host an official welcome ceremony for them.
Dr Tan will receive a courtesy call from Mr Xi while Mrs Mary Tan will separately host Mr Xi’s wife, Madam Peng, to tea.
Mr Xi’s trip – his first to Singapore since becoming president in 2013 – is part of celebrations this year by both sides to mark close bilateral ties and cooperation since diplomatic relations were formalised on Oct 3, 1990. Dr Tan visited Beijing and Tianjin in July.
A state banquet featuring local favourites such as chilli crab and bak kut teh will be held on Friday evening in honour of Mr Xi, Madam Peng and their delegation.
They include policy research head Wang Huning, general office head Li Zhanshu and State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who had accompanied Mr Xi on his state visit in Vietnam since Thursday.
During Mr Xi’s visit here, both sides are set to adopt a new strategic framework – likely called “a partnership of all-round cooperation keeping with the times” – to help chart future ties and cooperation.
Singapore and China will also sign several pacts, such as an exchange of letters for the official launch of negotiations to upgrade the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in January 2009.
Both sides will also sign agreements related to the third government-to-government project in western China, as well as cooperation in areas such as education, urban management and collaboration between the two Customs.
Mr Xi will meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Nov 7) and both will witness the signing ceremony.
Mr Xi and his wife will also visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens where an orchid hybrid “Papilionanda” will be named in their honour. PM Lee and his wife Ho Ching will host them to a private lunch.
During his visit, Mr Xi will deliver the 36th Singapore Lecture at the National University of Singapore on Saturday, which will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.
Along with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Mr Xi will also officially open the China Cultural Centre located in Queen Street on Saturday morning.
The two leaders had attended its ground-breaking ceremony in 2010 when Mr Xi visited Singapore as vice-president to mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties.