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A group of Chinese school children were very happy to see the President

Michael D Higgins is in China as part of a week-long State visit

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has today met with the President of China Xi Jinping in Beijing.

This comes as part of a week-long state visit in which Higgins is accompanied by Ministers Michael Noonan and Charlie Flanagan.

The meeting took place at around 9am this morning and saw President Higgins and his wife Sabina welcomed by President Xi and his wife Madame Peng Liyuan.

michael d higgins 5 Source: Shane O'Neill/Fennell Photography

As part of the meeting, President Xi has agreed to a return trip to Ireland. He previously visited in 2012 while still the vice president.

The ceremony took place in the Great Hall of People, which is located on the west side of Tiananmen Square.

President Higgins was met in the hall by a number of Chinese school children waving miniature Irish flags.

Later in the day he went on to give a speech at the China World Hotel in Beijing, where he addressed an event organised by Science Foundation Ireland.

michael d higgins 3 President Higgins meeting with President Xi Source: Shane O'Neill/Fennell Photography

Speaking at the event, Higgins drew scientific links between Ireland and China, saying, “to advance, science requires broad horizons, and a willingness to seek out new ideas and perspectives from other disciplines and different cultures.”

While in China, the President is meeting with a number of Irish organisation with interests in the Far East. These include Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Tourism Ireland, Culture Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

This comes as President Higgins’s fourth major State visit so far this year.

michael d higgins President Higgins meeting with students at a Science Foundation Ireland event Source: Shane O'Neill/Fennell Photography 2014

Read: President Michael D Higgins is off to China today

Also: Here’s why Michael D is heading to China next week

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