MEXICO CITY: President Tony Tan arrived in Mexico City on Tuesday (Jun 7) - the first Singapore Head of State to make a state visit to Latin America.
Dr Tan was received at the Benito Juarez International Airport by Mexican Ambassador to Singapore Mr Rogelio Granguillhome Morfin, Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs at the Secretariat of External Relations (SRE) Mexico Mr Carlos Alberto De Icaza Gonzalez, and General Director for Asia Pacific at the SRE Mr Alfonso de Maria y Campos Castello.
During the four-day visit, Dr Tan will attend a business luncheon with several Mexican businesses and 16 Singapore companies as part of a business delegation led by the Singapore Business Federation and IE Singapore. Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Mr Lim Hng Kiang will also be present.
There will also be a meeting between Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Dr Maliki Osman, Members of Parliament Ms Tin Pei Ling and Mr Darryl David, and a group of senators from the Mexican Congress.
During his trip, the Singapore Film Festival in Mexico City will also be held for the first time from Wednesday to Friday. Four Singapore movies will be screened: Ilo Ilo, 7 Letters, 12 Storeys and 881.
On Friday, Dr Tan will be given a ceremonial welcome at the historic Palacio Nacional, the seat of Mexico’s federal government and a symbol of power which dates back to the Aztec empire in the early 16th century.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is expected to host a State Lunch there in Dr Tan’s honour.
Dr Tan will also be presented with the key to Mexico City on Friday.
STATE VISIT TO EXPAND ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Besides marking 40 years of diplomatic bilateral relations, the visit aims to expand Singapore’s economic cooperation with Mexico. The country is Singapore’s second-largest trading partner in Latin America and the 26th largest globally, with bilateral trade doubling over the last decade, reaching S$4.59 billion in 2015.
Singapore’s Stock of Direct Investment Abroad in Mexico stood at S$1.17 billion as at end 2014. The main business interests between the two countries include oil and gas, manufacturing, and urban infrastructure planning and management.
Several MoUs will be signed during this trip to position Singapore as a gateway for Mexico, as the Latin Americans venture out of China and India, and into Southeast Asia.
PRESIDENT TAN LAYS WREATH AT ALTAR DE LA PATRIA
On Thursday morning, Dr Tan laid a wreath at the Altar de la Patria to honour the Niños Heroes - six teenage military cadets aged 13 to 19 who died defending the Chapultepec Castle from American forces during the Mexican-American war from 1846 to 1848.
It is a customary tradition for heads of states to pay tribute at the memorial site when they visit Mexico City.
President Tony Tan laying wreath at Altar de la Patria to honour 6 military cadets who died defending Mexico in 1847 pic.twitter.com/fV12lkcuS9— Liyana Othman (@LiyanaOthmanCNA) June 9, 2016
Dr Tan was flanked by the Commander of the Troops and the General Commander of the Guards of Honour during the procession, which was accompanied by ceremonial guards and the military band.