China offers endless mutual benefits – Foster

Date published: 05 December 2016

Belfast’s Titanic Belfast attraction was on the agenda on the first day of the First Minister’s visit to China.

First Minister met with theÊChinese Vice Premier, Madam Liu Yangdong in Shanghai at the start of the UK-China People to People summit along with Ambassador  Dame Barbara Woodward, Ministers Jeremy Hunt, Justine Greening and Karen Bradley.
First Minister met with theÊChinese Vice Premier, Madam Liu Yangdong in Shanghai at the start of the UK-China People to People summit along with Ambassador Dame Barbara Woodward, Ministers Jeremy Hunt, Justine Greening and Karen Bradley.

The First Minister, the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster has held a series of meetings in Shanghai where she met with the Chinese Ministers of Education, Culture and Finance as part of the UK-China People to People 2016 initiative.

First Minister, Arlene Foster, said: “The People to People dialogue provided a valuable opportunity to brief senior Chinese Ministers on our world class education system and the incredible opportunities for Chinese students.

“As part of that important dialogue I discussed our tourism product. Although we have already surpassed the target of 50,000 tourists from China this year, we want to see this figure continue to rise.

“In the last few days alone, Belfast’s iconic Titanic Belfast attraction has been crowned the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction. This fantastic achievement once again puts the global spotlight on Northern Ireland and is further proof of our ability to deliver on a world-wide scale.”

Tomorrow the First Minister will meet with Friends of Northern Ireland. It was established in 2015 in Shanghai by a number of Diaspora working in China who wanted to maintain connections with and help promote local businesses in China.

Speaking ahead of the meeting First Minister, Arlene Foster said: “Our relationship with China is very important and having people from Northern Ireland who are acutely aware of what we have to offer will not only assist the Chinese understand our offering, but also show other businesses from Northern Ireland that there is a support system in place.

“Our global family remains a vital part of our social and economic progress. I will be listening to people who have established themselves in China and look forward to hearing how the Northern Ireland Executive’s Bureau in Beijing is already assisting in this.”

The First Minister will also meet with Mr Song Jingwu, Vice-President of China People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Given the size and complexity of China, Northern Ireland’s strategy focuses on developing productive relations at a provincial level.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, First Minister, Arlene Foster said: “I look forward to a very informative and useful meeting with Vice President Song where I can take the opportunity to thank him for our deeply valued help and support of the Friendship Association. I intend to discuss work in areas of mutual interest and explore partnership opportunities with Liaoning which has a population of 43 million people.

“Northern Ireland remains committed to China, and I will take this opportunity to extend an invitation to host Chinese Provincial Leaders in Northern Ireland for a Leadership Summit.”

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