Welcome for Chinese visit

China State Councilor Madam Liu Yandong, centre, pictured on a visit to Parliament Buildings where she met, from left. Junior Minister Martina Anderson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, First Minister Peter Robinson, and Junior Minister Jonathon Bell. (1701MM03)
China State Councilor Madam Liu Yandong, centre, pictured on a visit to Parliament Buildings where she met, from left. Junior Minister Martina Anderson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, First Minister Peter Robinson, and Junior Minister Jonathon Bell. (1701MM03)
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Executive Ministers Martin McGuinness and Martina Anderson welcomed the visit of high-ranking Chinese official, Madam Liu Yandong, to the North last week.

The China State Councillor and member of the county’s communist party’s ruling politburo - held a number of engagements across the North last week to promote business, cultural and academic links with China.

She visited the University of Ulster to launch the Confucius Institute alongside the Stormont minister. The choir from the University of Ulster at Magee performed at the ceremony, along with Derry dancer, Seamus McKinney.

Mr McGuinness said he hopes the visit will strengthen links between China and the North.

“Over many years the Chinese community has made an immense contribution to our society and in the future I look forward to building on this relationship so we can learn from each other’s knowledge and experience. The First Minister and I are looking forward to discussing areas of mutual interest with Madam Liu ahead of our proposed visit to China later this year.

“We are keen to develop our cultural, business and academic links with China and we look forward to welcoming the Chinese Artistic Gymnastics Team for pre-Olympic training in Lisburn later this summer,” he said.

He also said the new Confucius centre will help people learn about Chinese culture. “The availability of short courses and evening classes which will be offered through the Confucius institute will provide opportunities for our people to learn more about China and its people and culture. I trust that this will open new doors to future partnerships across many spheres,” he explained.

Junior Minister Anderson also attended the launch and praised the involvement of local groups in the ceremony.

“I must say the Magee choir and the Irish dancers put on an excellent showcase and did our city proud. The dancing skills of young Seamus McKinney were outstanding and for him to go on later in the day and win at the Derry Féis is a great achievement,” she said.