The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, Junior Minister, Alastair Ross, and Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Michelle McIlveen today met HE Mr Zhou Qiang, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme People’s Court of China.
President Zhou is leading a delegation of senior judges from the Chinese judiciary on a two day visit to Belfast. Their focus is to analyse judicial practice here as part of an ongoing programme of reform of the judicial system in China. During his visit President Zhou will also meet with the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Sir Declan Morgan.
After his meeting with the visiting delegation in Stormont Castle the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuiness said: “I am delighted to welcome President Zhou today. Following the visit in 2012 of Vice Premier Madam Liu Yandong and last year of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, we are honoured another senior member of the Chinese government is visiting Belfast. It demonstrates the Executive’s commitment to China and the establishment of our Executive Bureau in Beijing is having a meaningful impact at the top of the Chinese administration.
”I am particularly pleased President Zhou is visiting us today as part of his drive to reform the Chinese judicial system. One of its key principles is equality for all and this is an aspiration that we are all familiar with. I welcome the opportunity to be associated with this reform programme and today assured President Zhou of our commitment to it.”
Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: “It was an honour for me today to welcome on behalf of the First Minister such an influential member of the Chinese government as President Zhou. His visit is a clear signal of the Chinese government’s commitment to Northern Ireland. It is also tangible evidence of our ability to learn from each other and share best practice.”
“As Chair of the Assembly Justice Committee I was committed to exploring ways of reforming and introducing innovation into the judicial system in Northern Ireland. I am confident that President Zhou and his judicial delegation can learn much from our local legal system to inform the China Supreme Court’s reform programme.”
Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “It was a privilege to greet President Zhou in Belfast today. Northern Ireland’s links with China have been growing closer over recent years and it is important that this continues.
“Our businesses and industries, including the agri-food sector, look to China as an important trade partner and it is reassuring that this visit by President Zhou demonstrates a commitment from his country to maintaining these strong connections.”
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