President Tony Tan makes state visit to France

President Tony Tan Keng Yam will arrive in Paris on Sunday for a seven-day state visit. -- PHOTO: ST FILE  
President Tony Tan Keng Yam will arrive in Paris on Sunday for a seven-day state visit. -- PHOTO: ST FILE  

PARIS - President Tony Tan Keng Yam will arrive in Paris on Sunday for a seven-day state visit.

His visit, which comes as Singapore celebrates its Golden Jubilee, marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and France and is expected to further strengthen bilateral ties.

It will also showcase the two countries' wide-ranging cooperation, particularly in culture, education, scientific research and defence, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Saturday.

There has been a regular exchange of high-level visits over the years, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's official visit to France in 2013.

Dr Tan will kick off his visit in Paris, where he will call on President Francois Hollande, who will host a state banquet at the Elysee Palace in Dr Tan's honour.

Dr Tan will also be hosted to a working lunch by Prime Minister Manuel Valls and meet Senate President Gerard Larcher as well as the city's mayor Anne Hidalgo, who will host a reception at the City Hall.

He will lay a ceremonial wreath at the Arc de Triomphe, beneath which lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I, a tribute to soldiers who have fallen in war.

Also on his Paris itinerary are visits to the contemporary art exhibition "Secret Archipelago", which is part of the three-month-long Singapore in France Festival, and Kastler-Brossel Laboratory, a scientific research facility with links to the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University.

After Paris, he will make his way to Bordeaux, a port city in southwestern France.

He will meet mayor Alain Juppe and be hosted to dinner by Secretary of State for foreign trade, tourism promotion and French citizens abroad Matthias Fekl.

He will also travel to the Cazaux Air Base, 60km outside Bordeaux, to meet Singaporean personnel and their families based there.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force's 150 Squadron - its advanced jet training detachment - has been training fighter pilots in Cazaux since 1998.

The President will be accompanied by his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, as well as Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Defence Lui Tuck Yew, and MPs Ellen Lee and Baey Yam Keng.

While he is away, the chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, Mr J.Y. Pillay, will act as President.