SINGAPORE - Day Two of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Singapore started early.
The Chinese delegation visited the China Cultural Centre in Queen Street at about 9am on Saturday (Nov 7), where a crowd was waiting to greet them.
Among them was housewife Lu Guan Le, 39, and her two daughters, six and four. She is married to a Singaporean and has lived here for 15 years, and her children are Singaporean.
Her older daughter had written a message to President Xi, and she said her daughters love "Peng Mama's" clothes in particular.
Also in the crowd were couple William Lee, 25, an online marketing manager, and his girlfriend Cherry Lee, 22, who is also in the marketing line. He is from Guangzhou and she from Shanxi, and they have been in Singapore for about two years. He said: "I'm normally the sort to wake up at noon on Saturday but it's not every day that the president comes to a city you're living in. This is a very intimate chance to see him up close."
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, after which they will witness the signing of agreements aimed at broadening and deepening bilateral ties.
It will be a busy day for Mr Xi, who arrived on Friday afternoon (Nov 6) for a two-day state visit.
Pacts to be inked on Saturday include an agreement to kickstart the third Singapore-China government-led project in Chongqing. The project will be on the theme of "modern connectivity and modern services", and could help lower the cost of doing business in China's western region.
The Chongqing project follows in the footsteps of the 1994 Suzhou Industrial Park and the 2008 Tianjin Eco-City.
Both sides will also sign other agreements, including an exchange of letters for the official launch of negotiations to upgrade a free trade agreement, and deals in areas such as education, urban management and collaboration between the two Customs.
Other stops on Mr Xi's itinerary on Saturday include:
- The Chinese leader and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong will officially open the China Cultural Centre located at Queen Street in the morning;
- He will deliver the 36th Singapore Lecture at National University of Singapore in a session chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean;
- Mr Xi and wife Peng Liyuan will visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens where an orchid hybrid "Papilionanda" will be named in their honour;
- Lunch hosted by PM Lee at the Botanic Gardens
After wrapping up the programme for his state visit, Mr Xi will hold a historic meeting with Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou at the Shangri-La Hotel at 3pm. It will be the first meeting between the top leaders from both sides of the Taiwan Strait since 1949.
Mr Ma is scheduled to arrive in Singapore at about 10.30am.
Meanwhile, reports say that around 100 protesters tried to storm the heavily-guarded parliament building in Taipei carrying “Taiwan independence” banners overnight, but were stopped by police. There were no arrests.
A dozen were still staging a sit-in outside parliament early Saturday morning. Protesters also gathered at Taipei’s Songshan airport where Ma gave a brief address to reporters before boarding his flight to Singapore Saturday morning.
The Xi-Ma summit, which was announced just days before Mr Xi's Singapore visit, has stirred up media frenzy. Hordes of foreign journalists have rushed to Singapore and many started staking out at the meeting venue on Friday.
Both sides are expected to hold separate press conferences after their summit and have dinner together at the hotel. They will leave Singapore on Saturday evening.