China has emerged as a potential answer to Ireland’s economic woes after a successful visit by Vice-President Xi Jinping.
The Chinese leader in waiting has promised new economic ties between the two countries and said challenges could outweigh solutions.
The current Vice-President has also invited Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to visit China at the end of March to promote business opportunities between the two countries.
Xi Jinping extended the invitation to the government leader during a dinner in his honour at Dublin Castle.
Speaking before the dinner, Xi Jinping said: “Solutions will outweigh challenges in the current economic crisis. I admire how the Irish people had faced up and tackled their debt problems.”
The Chinese leader also re-iterated his country’s commitment to Europe and the EU and promised more Chinese investment in the region.
The Irish government signed a number of new agreements with their Chinese counterparts during the visit which will aid trade between the two countries.
Prime Minister Kennywelcomed Xi Jinping to Ireland and told him that his visit came at an important stage in the development of relations between two countries with a ‘great deal’ in common.
Kenny added: “We both understand the need to reform and innovate as we move forward and just as China has transformed itself in its recent history, so too has Ireland.
“Business in Ireland welcomes the opportunities in food and agriculture, in high technology research and in investment which a growing relationship with China presents.”
Irish Jobs Minister Richard Bruton signed two memorandums, one on internationally traded services and the other to set up a joint investment promotion group with China to attract investment to Ireland.
Xi Jinping, due to take power later this year, has enjoyed a varied itinerary on his first Irish visit. He was treated to exhibitions of gaelic football and hurling when he was welcomed to Croke Park by GAA president Christy Cooney.
He also visited Lynch’s dairy farm at Sixmilebridge in Co Clare where he inspected the techniques used on the farm. A new born calf was named Xi in his honour.
A visit to the Cliffs of Moher in Clare was almost postponed when police discovered the body of a Polish man hanging from a gate at the tourist landmark just an hour before his arrival. Foul play is not suspected.
The itinerary on Monday will see Xi Jinping attend a forum on trade and investment hosted by Enterprise Ireland in Dublin before a scheduled meeting with Irish President Michael D Higgins.