Xi Jinping to visit Singapore next year to mark 25 years of ties

NANJING - CHINESE President Xi Jinping will make his first state visit to Singapore next year, to mark 25 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

It will be his first official visit to Singapore since he assumed China's highest office last year.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam will also make a state visit to China.

This agreement was made during a bilateral meeting between the two heads of state, said Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry on Saturday.

The bilateral meeting was part of a busy day for President Tan, who is here to attend the opening ceremony of the second Youth Olympic Games Saturday night at Mr Xi's invitation.

After the meeting, he paid a visit over lunch to the 18 Singapore youth athletes and attended a welcome dinner hosted for foreign dignitaries by Mr Xi.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said that during the bilateral meeting, Mr Xi welcomed Singapore's confirmation that it will join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as one of the founding members.

The China-backed institution is expected to finance Asian countries' building needs and work hand in hand with other multilateral lending agencies such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Mr Xi said that he hoped the two countries can set up a joint research centre to strengthen bilateral cooperation further.

The leaders reaffirmed the strong bilateral ties, and expressed confidence that the ties will continue to expand in a myriad of areas such as financial services, education and research, and science and technology, the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

A possible third government-to-government project in western China and the exchange of experiences in social governance systems were also raised.

Chengdu, Chongqing and Xi'an in western China are the locations being considered for this project.