PM begins week-long visit to China

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his 10th National Day Rally speech.

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will begin a week-long official visit to China on Sunday that will take him to the western and eastern ends of the country.

Making his second China trip in a year, he will arrive in Beijing where he will call on President Xi Jinping and meet Premier Li Keqiang.

It is Mr Lee's first meeting with the new Chinese leaders since China's power transition in November.

Mr Li will host the PM to lunch at the Great Hall of the People, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Saturday.

Mr Lee will then head to the western Xinjiang autonomous region.

He will meet the region's party boss Zhang Chunxian, a member of the Communist Party's 25-member Politburo, who will host a welcome dinner.

He will visit the cities of Urumqi, Shihezi and Kashgar in Xinjiang for "an update on local developments", the ministry said.

After that, Mr Lee will head for Liaoning, where he will meet the north-eastern province's party secretary Wang Min. He will also visit Singapore and Chinese companies there.

He will be accompanied by Mrs Lee and two ministers who will travel on different legs of the visit. Acting Minister for Manpower and Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin will be with him in Liaoning, while Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and for National Development Lee Yi Shyan will accompany him in Beijing and Xinjiang.

Also on the trip are Senior Parliamentary Secretaries Hawazi Daipi (Education and Manpower) and Sim Ann (Education and Communications and Information), Member of Parliament Liang Eng Hwa and senior officials.

In Mr Lee's absence, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be Acting Prime Minister.

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