The Communist Party of China (CPC) Secretary of Chongqing, Chen Min'er, will be visiting Singapore from Sept. 10 to 13, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Meeting PM Lee, DPM Heng, attending Meet-the-People session with Josephine Teo
This is Chen's first visit to Singapore in his current capacity.
His visit will include meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and being hosted to separate meals by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, and Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.
He will also attend a Meet-the-People Session with Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo.
Additionally, on Sept. 11, both Chen and Chan will speak at the Singapore-China (Chongqing) Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, and witness the signing of several Memoranda of Understanding between Singapore and Chongqing agencies and companies.
Chen and his delegation will also visit Changi Airport, PSA International, Singapore Exchange Limited and the National University of Singapore.
He was invited at the behest of Chan.
Touted as Xi Jinping's potential successor
The Straits Times reported that Chen is a protege of Xi Jinping and a rising political star who was appointed to his current position in 2017.
The same year also saw Chen become a member of the Politburo, the CPC's top decision-making body.
Nikkei Asian Review noted that while Chen has not yet entered the top echelon of the Politburo, he is still seen as a successor to Xi Jinping.
Earlier in April, Xi paid a inspection tour to Chongqing, which was seen as a reward for Chen's loyalty.
The trip also saw Xi photographed while he was flanked by both Chen and Hu Chunhua, the CPC Secretary of Guangdong who has been speculated as the successor to China's premier, Li Keqiang.
Singapore's welcome of Chen has precedence
In any case, it appears that the treatment of Chen in Singapore mirrors that extended to Xi in 2010, when he visited in his then capacity as vice-president.
At that time, Xi had met the late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, PM Lee, as well as former DPM Wong Kan Seng.
South China Morning Post reported that Lee praised Xi as a man of "great breadth" at that time.
He also added that Xi was in the same class as Nelson Mandela.
Left photo by Lintao Zhang via Getty Images, right photo from PM Lee Facebook