Xi meets Irish president on boosting ties

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Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met with Irish President Michael D. Higgins in Dublin on Feb 20, 2012. [Xinhua Photo]

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met with Irish President Michael D. Higgins in Dublin on Feb 20, 2012. [Xinhua Photo]

Visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met on Monday with Irish President Michael D. Higgins, discussing ways to boost the relations between China and Ireland.

This was the first time for Higgins to host a meeting with Chinese vice president, who arrived in the country on Saturday for an official visit.

During the meeting, Xi passed on Chinese President Hu Jintao's greetings to Higgins, calling for more efforts to expand substantial cooperation in various fields, so as to elevate bilateral ties into a higher level.

Xi said China has learned experience from Ireland in setting up special zones for economic development, and China and Ireland can learn from each other in the future.

The vice president also briefed Higgins on China's economic development and its lesson in reform and opening up.

Higgins, on his part, said Xi's visit is of vital significance, noting that Ireland appreciates China's development achievements and values its friendship with China.

Higgins also said the Irish side is willing to conduct dialogue with China on tackling global challenges, make more comprehensive cooperation and advance the bilateral ties into a higher level.

Later on Monday morning, Xi met with Irish parliament leaders and addressed a business forum at midday.

In recent years, the trade and economic cooperation between Ireland and China has been booming. For one thing, the trade volume between China and Ireland hit 5.87 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.

Irish media continued their enthusiasm on covering Xi's tour in Ireland on Monday. Mainstream newspapers, including The Irish Times and The Irish Examiner, carried big photos about Xi's playing Gaelic football on the frontpages of Monday's edition, hailing the agreements made between Ireland and China during Xi's tour.

Later on Monday afternoon, the vice president left Ireland for Turkey, the final leg of his three-nation tour.


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