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Here's why Michael D is heading to China next week

He was invited by President Xi Jinping.

Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

THE IRISH PRESIDENT is to make a State visit to China next week.

Michael D Higgins will visit the country from 7 to 15 December, after being invited by President Xi Jinping.

The President won’t be alone on his trip – accompanying him will be the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, TD and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, TD, along with his wife Sabina Higgins.

They will take in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou during their three-day visit.

The last State visit to China was by President McAleese in 2003.

During the visit, the President will have separate meetings with:

  • The President of China, Xi Jinping
  • Prime Minister, Li Keqiang
  • The Chairman of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang.

He will also attend events organised by Irish agencies including Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Tourism Ireland, Culture Ireland, the Science Foundation of Ireland, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and representatives from the university sector.

Military honours

The visit will begin with the rendering of full Military Honours at Áras an Uachtaráin on Saturday the 6 December, before the President departs for Beijing.

When he arrives, he will be met by the Irish Ambassador to China, Paul Kavanagh. That will kick off a series of events, which includes a trip to the 798 Art District and meeting Irish artists, including Sharon Shannon and the poet Paula Meehan, at the Concert Hall in the Forbidden City.

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He will also meet President XI Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan at the Great Hall of the People. After a ceremonial greeting in the North Hall President Higgins, will engage in official talks with President Xi Jinping.

There will also be a State dinner in his honour, hosted by President XI Jinping and Madame Ping.

In Shanghai, the President will visit the former residence of Sun Yat Sen, the first President and founding father of the Republic of China, which was also visited by George Bernard Shaw in 1933.

His visit will also include a trip to a tea plantation and trips by bullet train. 

This will be the President’s fourth major visit this year. 

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