Foster meets Vice-Premier during China visit

First Minister Arlene Foster pictured at her meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Madam Liu Yandong at the Dongzhou State Guest House in Shanghai.  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
First Minister Arlene Foster pictured at her meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Madam Liu Yandong at the Dongzhou State Guest House in Shanghai. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

First Minister Arlene Foster’s visit to China continued yesterday as she met with the Chinese Vice Premier, Madam Liu Yandong, in Shanghai.

Following the meeting, the First Minister said Vice Premier Liu Yandong had confirmed her continued interest and commitment to Northern Ireland. Mrs Foster also formally invited Madam Liu Yandong to make a return visit.

“It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet Vice Premier Liu Yandong in China,” the First Minister said. “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.”

She continued: “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.”

The First Minister was also invited to participate in the People to People dialogue, 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 collaboration in a number of sectors including, education, science, tourism, culture and health.