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Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping photographed while meeting Hillary Clinton yesterday.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping photographed while meeting Hillary Clinton yesterday.
Image: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak/PA Images

From a Sixmilebridge dairy farm to Dublin Castle...

Here’s the lowdown on what China’s vice-president will see and do while in Ireland this weekend.
Feb 15th 2012, 10:11 PM 8,825 69

THE STATE VISIT of China’s vice-president Xi Jinping kicks off on Saturday afternoon and will include meetings with the Taoiseach and President Higgins before concluding on Monday.

Xi is currently on a state visit to the US, where he met with President Obama and addressed the US-China Business Council warmly on relations between the  two countries. However, the visit has offered few clues as to how Xi will lead China.

Xi is expected to succeed current Chinese leader Hu Jintao to both the leadership of the communist party and the presidency.

His short visit to Ireland begins with his arrival on Saturday afternoon to Shannon Airport, where he will be greeted by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. Xi will also meet with the head of Shannon Development before attending a Gilmore-hosted banquet at Bunratty Castle – famed for its medieval-style meals.

On Sunday, Xi is scheduled to visit a dairy farm in Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, followed by a private visit to the Cliffs of Moher. The Chinese vice-president will fly to Dublin for a visit to Croke Park and a “demonstration of Gaelic football and hurling”, according to the programme of events.

The Taoiseach and Xi will meet at Dublin Castle for official talks that evening, before the day is rounded off with a Riverdance performance.

President Michael D Higgins will receive the Chinese leader at the Áras on Monday morning, before Xi travels across the city to Leinster House. He will also attend the Ireland-China Trade and Investment Forum in Kilmainham before leaving Ireland that afternoon for Turkey.

Xinhua reported last week that Xi’s spokesperson said that the Irish visit would focus on relations between China and Ireland, and China and Europe. The spokesperson said that China and Ireland enjoy “traditional friendship” and that the visit aims to increase relations between the two countries.

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Susan Ryan

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