SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be in France on a three-day official visit at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron from Friday (Jul 13), the Prime Minister’s Office said in a press release.
Mr Lee has been invited to be a guest of honour at the French National Day parade on Saturday.
Each year, the French president invites a country to join in the Bastille Day parade down the famous Champs Elysees on Jul 14, a national holiday in France. Mr Macron hosted US President Donald Trump at the celebration last year.
The Bastille Day event this year will feature a France-Singapore combined flypast, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last month.
During his trip, Mr Lee will also call on and be hosted to dinner by Mr Macron and have a separate meeting with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
Mr Lee will also attend a lunch with French industry leaders, and attend a reception with overseas Singaporeans.
The visit comes as both Singapore and France commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)’s Advanced Jet Training in Cazaux Air Base.
Singapore is one of the French air force's main allies in Southeast Asia. The country has sent scores of fighter pilots for training in France over the past 20 years.
Mr Lee’s visit also comes at the mid-point of the 2018 France-Singapore Year of Innovation, which is aimed at deepening bilateral relationship between both countries through intensifying cooperation on innovation.
In line with this, Mr Lee and Mr Macron will issue a France-Singapore Road Map for Deepening Cooperation in Digital Innovation, Internet Governance and Cybersecurity.
Several bilateral agreements on innovation, artificial intelligence, research and development, student exchanges and energy will also be signed.
Mr Lee will be accompanied by several ministers and officials during the trip, including Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.
Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, will be the Acting Prime Minister from Jul 13 to Jul 16.