Xi to visit Singapore next year

Xi to visit Singapore next year
Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday reaffirmed strong bilateral ties. Mr Xi will make his first state visit to Singapore next year to mark 25 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

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 yesterday, said Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry.

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 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.

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.

At the bilateral meeting, Mr Xi thanked Singapore, which hosted the inaugural Games in 2010, for extending its support to China.

Both leaders highlighted the importance of the Games for young people.

Dr Tan said: "It represents their aspirations and opportunities… the ideals of participation, sportsmanship and Olympism which I'm sure all of us would like to cultivate."

Mr Xi, in opening remarks in Mandarin, congratulated Singapore on celebrating its 49th National Day.

He noted the strides the country has made in areas such as nation-building and economic growth since its independence, and also sent his regards to former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who turns 91 next month.

In English, Dr Tan said: "Our relationship today between China and Singapore is strong, sustainable and multi-faceted.

"Our economic and trade relations are excellent. China is Singapore's largest trade partner now and we are increasingly investing in China."

Dr Tan's three-day trip ends today. He will then visit Germany from Tuesday to Friday.

waltsim@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on August 17, 2014.
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