SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will visit Beijing from Thursday (Apr 25) for five days to attend the second Belt and Road Forum and witness the signing of memorandums of understanding on bilateral cooperation between Singapore and China.
Mr Lee's visit to the Chinese capital is at the invitation of China’s President Xi Jinping, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.
The forum - centred upon China’s Belt and Road Initiative which aims to rebuild the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond with massive infrastructure spending - kicks off on Friday.
China will play host to nearly 40 foreign leaders, including Mr Lee, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Mr Lee will attend the opening ceremony on Friday and deliver a speech at a high-level meeting on “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”. Together with Mrs Lee, he will also attend a welcome banquet for leaders and their spouses hosted by President Xi and his wife, Madam Peng Liyuan.
The next day, Mr Lee will deliver remarks at a leaders’ roundtable chaired by President Xi. He will also have bilateral meetings with other leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum.
Also on Mr Lee’s schedule is the opening ceremony of the 2019 International Horticultural Exposition in Beijing’s Yanqing district, which he will attend on Sunday.
He and Mrs Lee will visit the Singapore Garden designed by National Parks Board to showcase the country’s lush tropical landscape.
On the final day of his visit, Mr Lee will meet President Xi. He will also meet and be hosted to lunch by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, with whom he will witness the signing of five memorandums of understanding.
The prime minister’s last visit to China was in April last year.
Apart from Mrs Lee, Mr Lee will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Ministers of State Koh Poh Koon and Zaqy Mohamad, as well as other government officials.
During his absence, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be Acting Prime Minister.