High-level bilateral agreements to be signed during Chinese President Xi's visit to Singapore

SINGAPORE - High-level agreements between Singapore and China, like the start of the third government-to-government project and negotiations to upgrade of the bilateral free trade agreement, are set to be signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the Republic this week.

Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Chen Xiaodong said on Tuesday (Nov 3) that Mr Xi's visit, from this Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, is a short but packed one.

At the top of the agenda is a signing of the agreement to kickstart Singapore's third project in China, after the 1994 Suzhou Industrial Park and the 2008 Tianjin Eco-City.

The bilateral project will be on the theme of "modern connectivity and modern services" and will be sited somewhere in China's western region. Although its exact contours and location have yet to be publicly announced, both sides are set to pick at least one city among Chongqing, Chengdu and Xi'an to host the new project.

Mr Chen said that the project would have a positive effect on the Chinese government's plan to develop its vast western region as well as help realise Mr Xi's initiative to revive the Silk Road trading belt that winds through Central and South-east Asia.

Other agreements to be signed will include the promotion of this Silk Road vision, as well as exchanges in the areas of education, customs, finance and urban management.

Both governments also intend to announce a new direction for the bilateral relationship, said Mr Chen, as befitting the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations and to show that ties are evolving with the times.

Mr Xi's visit to mark this anniversary is part of an exchange of presidential visits, with President Tony Tan Keng Yam visiting Beijing and Tianjin in July

Mr Xi will be accompanied on the trip by his wife, Madam Peng Liyuan.

Besides a state banquet in his honour, Mr Xi and Madam Peng will also have an orchid named after them at the Botanic Gardens, and be hosted to a private lunch by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife, Ms Ho Ching.

During his trip, Mr Xi will also officiate, together with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, the opening of the China Cultural Centre in Queen Street.

Ambassador Chen noted that the forthcoming visit is Mr Xi's first official visit to Singapore as Chinese President as well as the first state visit hosted by the new Singapore Government elected in the September General Election.

"At this historic moment, Mr Xi's visit is a meaningful one that will inject new momentum and open a new chapter for the Sino-Singapore relationship," he said.

"I'm heartened to feel the attention and anticipation paid by the Singapore Government and people to the visit," he added.

This article was first published on Nov 3, 2015.
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