McGuinness set for China trade mission

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (1109MM12)
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (1109MM12)
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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will travel to China next week as part of a high level trade delegation.

Mr McGuinness and First Minister Peter Robinson have been invited to China by Liu Yandong, an influential political member of the ruling Chinese Community Party’s politburo.

The First and Deputy First Minister hosted Mrs Yandong during her visit to Belfast in April.

The pair will lead the delegation, which will also include business leaders and university officials from the North, which has been organised by the Northern Ireland Connections (NIC) group.

The delegation will meet a number of senior political figures in China although their access could be limited due to the Communist Party’s 18th Congress.

The visit will come during a time of political change in China as the Community Party appoints a new leadership. Mrs Yandong, the most senior female politician in China, has been tipped to become the first woman to be appointed to the 24-strong standing committee of the politburo.

During the visit Mr McGuinness and Mr Robinson will host a reception in Hong Kong for guests with a connection to Ireland.

“The ministers will visit Hong Kong to connect with our diaspora and promote trade and tourism opportunities,” an NIC spokesman said.

In Shanghai, the ministers will review the work of university science laboratories and host a business reception for Chinese buyers attending the Food & Hotel China exhibition.

Diplomatic and international relations meetings will also take place.