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State Visit to China

State Visit to China

Date: Sun 7th Dec, 2014 | 12:56

President Higgins makes State Visit to China 7-15 December

President Michael D. Higgins will make a State Visit to China from the 7th to the 15th of December. The invitation for the President to make this visit as Head of State was extended by President Xi Jinping. The last State visit to China was by President McAleese in 2003.

During the visit the President will have separate meetings with the President of China, Mr Xi Jinping; the Prime Minister, Mr Li Keqiang and the Chairman of the National People’s Congress, Mr Zhang Dejiang. While in China the President will attend events being organized by our leading agencies in conjunction with the visit. They include, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Tourism Ireland, Culture Ireland, the Science Foundation of Ireland, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and representatives from our University Sector.

Accompanying the President on this three city visit to Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, will be the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, T.D. and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, T.D. The visit will aim to deepen the political, cultural, business, scientific and educational relationships between the two countries. The President will be accompanied by Sabina Higgins.

After the rendering of full Military Honours at Áras an Uachtaráin, to commence the State visit on Saturday the 6th of December, the President will depart for Beijing. On arrival in Beijing on Sunday the President will be met by the Irish Ambassador to China, Mr Paul Kavanagh.

Monday 8th December

On Monday 8th December the President will visit the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Arts in the ‘798 Art District’. In making the tour of the Gallery he will include a visit to the ‘Red Star Furniture Exhibition’ and a children’s art class. The President will speak and open an exhibition organised by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, who are currently organising ‘Irish Design 2015′. Later that evening the President will attend a concert by Irish artists, including Sharon Shannon and the poet Paula Meehan, at the Concert Hall in the Forbidden City. The President is also expected to visit some Cultural Sites in Beijing on Monday. (Cultural visit programme being finalized)

Tuesday 9th December

On Tuesday morning the President will be guest of honour and will address a Business Breakfast hosted by the IDA and Enterprise Ireland in Beijing. Later in the morning he will attend a Science and Technology joint event organized by the Science Foundation of Ireland and the Chinese Academy of Science.

On Tuesday afternoon the President and Sabina Higgins will be greeted by President XI Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan at the Great Hall of the People. After a ceremonial greeting in the North Hall President Higgins will engage in official talks with President Xi Jinping.

Both Presidents will then witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between NUIG and Tsinghua University. Later in the evening the President and Sabina Higgins will attend a state dinner in his honour, hosted by the President XI Jinping and Madame Peng.

Wednesday 10th December

On Wednesday morning President Higgins will visit the Research and Development Centre at Huawei, one of China’s leading information technology companies. Later in the day the President will have an official meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Li Keqiang in the Great Hall of the People. Afterwards he will have a separate meeting with the Chairman of the National People’s Congress, Mr Zhang Dejiang. On Wednesday evening the President will meet and address members of the Irish Community at the Irish Embassy in Beijing.

Thursday 11th December

On Thursday the President departs Beijing for Shanghai, where he will be greeted by the Irish Consul General, Mr Austin Gormley. He will then attend and address a promotional lunch hosted by Bord Bia for key Chinese parties. Later in the day, he will attend and address a promotional event, hosted by Tourisn Ireland for members of the Chinese media and tourism industry.

The President will go on to visit the former residence of Sun Yat Sen, the first President and founding father of the Republic of China. George Bernard Shaw visited the residence in 1933. In his remarks the President will recall this visit.

Later in the evening the President will meet with and address members of the Irish Community in Shanghai.

Friday 12th December

On Friday the President will deliver a keynote address and take questions from students at the Fudan University, Shanghai. He will also witness the signing of two agreements between the university and Trinity College, Dublin. He will also have an opportunity to meet and engage with students attending the historic Fudan University.

Later the President has an official meeting and is the guest of honour at a lunch hosted by the Mayor of Shanghai.

In the afternoon the President travels by bullet train from Shanghai to the third city involved in the state visit, Hangzhou. He will then visit one of China’s leading international companies, Alibaba, where he will have a meeting with its founder and Executive Chairman Mr Jack Ma.

Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th December

On Saturday the President visits the Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, which dates back to 328AD. Later he takes a Bronze Dragon Boat trip on the West Lake.

On Sunday morning he visits a Tea Plantation and afterward returns to Shanghai by bullet train. Later in Shanghai he visits the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum.

On Monday the 15th of December the President returns to Dublin.

Note. This will be the President’s fourth major visit this year. He made a state visit to the UK in April, an official visit to the United States in May and completed a three-country visit to Africa in November. He made official visits to France and Belgium in August, where he attended two major WW1 commemorative events. In May he attended the Peter O Toole Memorial event in London and attended the ‘Dylan Thomas 100’ celebrations in Wales in October.