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China, Ireland agree to boost cooperation

SHANNON, Ireland, (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Irish counterpart, Enda Kenny, agreed here Sunday to expand bilateral cooperation and exchanges in trade, clean energy, education and many other areas.

The agreement was reached during their talks held after Li, en route to Latin America for a four-nation tour, arrived in this Irish town earlier in the day for a transit visit to the European country.

The China-Ireland relationship features time-honored mutual understanding and support, and the two nations have fostered a profound traditional friendship, Li said.

Beijing, he added, stands ready to work with Dublin on the basis of mutual respect and equality to deepen strategic mutual trust, strengthen bilateral communication and coordination on such major global affairs as peace, development and international governance, and achieve better and faster development of their strategic partnership for mutual benefit.

While briefing the Taoiseach about China’s economic growth, Li suggested that the two countries put into full play their complementary advantages and expand trade and mutual investment.

In addition, he called for closer cooperation in agriculture, biomedicine, information technology and other areas, and more people-to-people exchanges in such fields as education, culture and tourism.

Noting that the two countries have agreed during the visit on a visa waiver deal for holders of diplomatic and service passports, Li proposed that they further facilitate the two-way travel of businesspeople, students and tourists.

China, said the premier, is glad to see that the European economy is showing more and more positive signs and the European integration process is marching forward steadily.

Reaffirming China’s hope for a united, strong and prosperous European Union (EU), Li said Beijing is willing to comprehensively promote cooperation with the EU in various areas, so as to inject new vigor into China-EU relations and jointly steer the world economy toward recovery.

Kenny, for his part, noted that Ireland and China have enjoyed a long-running friendly relationship, and bilateral ties have witnessed smooth development particularly since they established a strategic partnership for mutual benefit.

Dublin, he added, pays great attention to China’s economic prospect, thinks highly of Beijing’s economic reform efforts, and attaches immense importance to developing relations with China.

The Irish side is willing to work with China to maintain high-level contact, beef up cooperation in such areas as trade, agriculture, finance, clean energy and tourism, and expand personnel exchanges, he added.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach stressed that his country is ready to help Chinese enterprises get into the European market.

After their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation deals on travel facilitation measures and agricultural cooperation.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Li said China welcomes high-quality, competitive Irish products into its market and is willing to have Ireland as a partner in three-party cooperation programs.

The Chinese premier is scheduled to leave for Latin America on Monday for an official visit to Brazil, Columbia, Peru and Chile, his first to the region since he assumed premiership in 2013.

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