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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives in Guangzhou at start of official visit to China

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited an autonomous vehicle company WeRide and met Singaporeans in Guangdong in a reception on his first day.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives in Guangzhou at start of official visit to China

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Madam Ho Ching arrive in Guangzhou on Mar 27, 2023, and are received by Guangdong Vice Governor Zhang Xin (left) and the People's Republic of China Ambassador to Singapore Sun Hai Yan (right). (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information)

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Guangzhou on Monday (Mar 27) at the start of his first trip to China in more than three years

Landing in Guangzhou at 12.19pm, Mr Lee was greeted by Chinese officials, including Guangdong Vice Governor Zhang Xin and the People’s Republic of China's Ambassador to Singapore Sun Hai Yan. 

He was accompanied by Madam Ho Ching, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and National Development Sim Ann, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Law Rahayu Mahzam as well as other Singapore government officials.

Mr Lee's first stop was autonomous driving technology company WeRide, headquartered at the Biotech Island of Guangzhou. 

04:11 Min

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Guangzhou on Monday (Mar 27) at the start of his first trip to China in more than three years. Mr Lee was greeted by Chinese officials, including Guangdong Vice Governor Zhang Xin and the People’s Republic of China's Ambassador to Singapore Sun Hai Yan. Olivia Siong reports. 

WeRide, which provides driverless vehicles such as Robotaxis and Robovans, currently counts Singapore public transport operator SMRT and venture capital firm K3 Ventures as investors. 

The tech company signed a memorandum of understanding with SMRT subsidiary Strides last November as part of its plan to trial autonomous vehicles in Singapore in the second half of this year. WeRide aims to gradually expand operations to the rest of Southeast Asia. 

During his nearly half-hour visit at WeRide's premises, Mr Lee and his retinue were briefed on the company's operations, technology and reach. 

He also rode on one of WeRide's Robobuses - part of a fleet that is currently plying the roads of Guangzhou as a form of public transport. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking a ride on a Robobus with WeRide's CEO Tony Han in Guangzhou on Mar 27, 2023. (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information)

In the evening, Mr Lee met Singaporeans in Guangdong in a reception at the InterContinental Guangzhou Exhibition Center.

Received with cheers from a crowd of around 150 Singaporeans, Mr Lee spoke briefly on emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and about dealing with further global and local challenges. 

During his meetings with individual Singaporeans, Mr Lee also had a "good discussion" with them about their experiences living in China, the Prime Minister's press secretary told the media. 

During an interview with Chinese broadcaster China Central Television ahead of the trip, Mr Lee had described relations between Singapore and China as "very good"

For his remaining five days, Mr Lee is slated to meet with more Chinese officials, including China's new premier Li Qiang, and speak at the Bo’ao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in Hainan. 

His visit, which ends on Apr 1, will include a meeting with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing. 

Source: CNA/wt(gr)

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