First Minister, the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster today met with the Chinese Vice Premier Madam Liu Yandong in Shanghai as part of her four day visit to China.
Following the meeting the First Minister spoke about how Vice Premier Liu Yandong confirmed her continued interest and commitment to Northern Ireland and the First Minister formally invited Madam Liu Yandong to make a return visit.
First Minister, Arlene Foster said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet Vice Premier Liu Yandong in China. The last time we met was during her visit to Northern Ireland in 2012 when I was Enterprise Trade and Investment Minister.
“I reinforced to the Vice Premier the Northern Ireland Executive’s objective of a mutually beneficial relationship with China particularly in the economic, education, tourism, culture and agriculture sectors.
“In recent years the Vice Premier has always been a strong supporter of Northern Ireland and I thanked her for both continued interest and insight into how we can best work with China.
“We discussed the Northern Ireland Executive’s Bureau in Beijing and how this demonstrates our desire to develop a long lasting friendship and presence in China. I invited Madam Liu Yandong to come and visit Northern Ireland again and this time I would show her the beauty of my home county of Fermanagh.”
When in China the First Minister was also invited to participate in the People to People dialogue, one of three major dialogues to take place with the Chinese Government each year, chaired by Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Jeremy Hunt as well as seven senior Chinese Ministers and four UK Government Ministers.
The People to People Dialogue identifies areas for future work and collaboration in a number of sectors including, education, science, tourism, culture, health and creative industries.
The First Minister attended a number of private meetings with the other Ministers to discuss areas of mutual importance and agree on strategies for future development.
At the plenary meetings she spoke to an audience of over 300 people as well about Northern Ireland’s achievements through its Executive Office in China in developing beneficial links with Liaoning and Hubei province. Ministers also outlined their initiatives for future economic and education collaboration with China over the next year.
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