Presidents of China, Ireland meet in Beijing on 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties

World Today

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Irish counterpart Michael D. Higgins in Beijing Tuesday. The meeting — during which the two leaders hailed the importance of their countries’ relations, pledged to strengthen trade and economic links, and promote cooperation — was part of President Higgins’ ten-day visit to China. CCTV’s Su Yuting reported from Beijing.

Presidents of China, Ireland meet in Beijing on 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Irish counterpart Michael D. Higgins in Beijing Tuesday. The meeting -- during which the two leaders hailed the importance of their countries' relations, pledged to strengthen trade and economic links, and promote cooperation -- was part of President Higgins' ten-day visit to China. CCTV’s Su Yuting reported from Beijing.

This was President Higgins first state visit to China, the main purpose of which was to promote Chinese investment in Ireland. He was accompanied by a delegation of leading Irish state companies.

President Xi greeted Higgins with a welcoming ceremony, where the Chinese president hailed the importance of high-level visits and the deepening mutual trust between China and Ireland.

“I hope the two sides can continue to maintain friendly cooperation,” Xi said. “The two countries will take 2014, the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, as a new starting point to build on efforts to cement a strategic partnership for mutually beneficial cooperation.”

Xi said China has been Ireland’s largest trading partner in Asia for seven consecutive years, while Ireland has run a trade surplus for five years. Ireland is an important link to the European market and China hopes it will play a greater role in the European Union in promoting China-EU relations.

Higgins recalled Xi Jinping’s visit to Ireland in 2012. He said the two sides had reached agreements in various fields, and said he expected this visit to be an opportunity to explore more opportunities for boosting bilateral business ties.

“We have many [memorandums of understanding] in areas of economy, science and technology, and exchanges in culture. And in all of these areas, my hope is that my visit will build a great assistance to deepening what is already a very great friendship,” Higgins said.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of agreements in various sectors, including science and technology, people-to-people exchanges, culture, and education.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1979, China and Ireland have had sound bilateral relations. Both sides have made efforts to strengthen trade and economic links with each other, enhance cooperation in areas such as aviation, transportation, and financial services.