Singapore, China to ink several pacts

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov 9, 2014.
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov 9, 2014. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Singapore and China will sign several pacts during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit, including an exchange of letters for the official launch of negotiations to upgrade a free trade agreement.

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 tomorrow and both leaders will witness the signing ceremony, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said.

Today, President Tony Tan Keng Yam will host an official welcome ceremony at the Istana and receive a courtesy call from Mr Xi.

Mrs Mary Tan will separately host Mr Xi's wife, Madam Peng Liyuan, to tea.

A state banquet will be held in honour of Mr Xi, Madam Peng and their delegation, which includes policy research head Wang Huning, general office head Li Zhanshu and State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

Mr Xi's two-day visit is part of an exchange of presidential visits by both sides to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations this year.

Mr Xi and his wife will 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 - his first to Singapore since he took office in 2013 - Mr Xi will deliver the 36th Singapore Lecture at the National University of Singapore, 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. The two leaders attended its ground- breaking ceremony in 2010.

Kor Kian Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2015, with the headline 'Singapore, China to ink several pacts'. Print Edition | Subscribe