First Minister, the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster and the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness today joined Chinese Consul General, Madam WANG Shuying, at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast, to celebrate the 67th anniversary of the founding of The People’s Republic of China.
First Minister, Arlene Foster said: “I am honoured to join today’s celebrations for the 67th anniversary of the founding of The People’s Republic of China.
“Two years ago the Northern Ireland Executive committed to strengthening its relationship with China when we established an office in Beijing with responsibility for developing our government and diplomatic relations with the Chinese government, its provinces and key organisations. Northern Ireland now has strong connections with Liaoning Province, in the north-east region in China, with tangible collaborative projects in place across the Arts, Education, Business and Research and Development sectors.
“Our positive relationship with China offers huge potential right across Government and we are determined to maximise it. Over the next few months we will be increasing this focus further as we seek to build on the excellent foundation that has been laid by the Executive Bureau in Beijing. It is important we maintain the profile of Northern Ireland with key decision makers within the Chinese government.
“We are determined to create the best possible circumstances for Northern Ireland companies to succeed within the Chinese marketplace and for our universities to collaborate and share research and development projects with leading academic institutions in China.
“I look forward to visiting China once again in December. I appreciate the support we receive from the Chinese Government and am confident our relationship will continue to grow from strength to strength.”
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “It is a privilege to be with Madam WANG and our friends on Chinese National Day.
“Vice Premier Madam LIU Yandong recognised the potential of strengthening our relationship with China when she visited here in 2012. On Madam LIU’s recommendation we have focused on developing links with Liaoning Province. This has already proved to be a fruitful partnership and is one we are determined to continue to grow.
“There are real opportunities within the Chinese marketplace for local companies to do business. Chinese universities are hungry for partnerships on research projects with our world-class universities and many Chinese students are eager to study here. And the potential for huge numbers of Chinese tourists to visit us is immense.
“We are committed to working with the Chinese government and to build the close working relationship required to enable this potential and these opportunities to be realised. It is hugely encouraging to us that the Chinese government has been equally committed to its relationship with the Executive. The establishment of a Chinese Consulate in Belfast has been a significant contributory factor in developing relations. More locally, it has given our own Chinese community a very clear and high profile figurehead. In a short period of time, Madam WANG has become an influential and much-respected part of our local society.
“I look forward to returning to China in December to build upon existing relationships and forge new ones.”
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