January 18, 2024
BEIJING – Premier Li Qiang has underscored the need for China and Ireland to jointly uphold a free and open international trading system and maintain stable and unimpeded global industrial and supply chains to give positive energy to the world as it faces uncertainties.
Li made the remarks on Wednesday during a meeting with Irish President Michael D. Higgins in Dublin, the Irish capital, while on an official visit to the country.
While calling for promoting true multilateralism, the premier said that both countries should bridge differences through dialogue and resolve disputes through cooperation.
He emphasized the need for both countries to work together to improve global governance and better promote common development.
On bilateral ties, Li said that China is willing to uphold mutual respect and equality with Ireland, continue to enhance mutual understanding and trust, fully take into account each other’s major interests and core concerns, and continuously enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields.
Higgins said that the relationship between Ireland and China maintains a good momentum of development as they always adhere to mutual understanding and respect.
When meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Wednesday, Li called on the two countries to keep expanding trade, strengthen cooperation in areas such as sustainable agriculture and finance, and explore innovative cooperation in the digital economy and artificial intelligence, among others.
To facilitate personnel exchanges between the two countries, China will extend unilateral visa-free treatment to Ireland, Li said.
The premier also said it is hoped that Ireland will provide an open, fair and nondiscriminatory business environment for Chinese companies.
China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Ireland within the United Nations and other multilateral frameworks to uphold true multilateralism and jointly address global challenges, Li said.
China expects Ireland to play a bigger role in promoting the sound and stable development of relations between China and the European Union, he added.
Noting that Ireland and China have always respected and trusted each other, Varadkar said his country firmly adheres to the one-China principle and hopes China will achieve peaceful reunification at an early date.
Ireland will actively consider offering more convenience for Chinese citizens to travel and welcome more Chinese enterprises to invest and start businesses in the country, he said, adding that his country supports the further deepening of EU-China cooperation.
Economic and trade cooperation between China and Ireland has developed rapidly in recent years. China is Ireland’s fourth-largest trading partner in the world. Ireland has maintained a trade surplus with China for several years. In 2022, bilateral trade reached $23.8 billion, a year-on-year increase of 3.8 percent, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Li arrived in Dublin on Tuesday after attending the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum and paying an official visit to Switzerland. He wrapped up his whirlwind trip to Ireland on Wednesday and flew back to Beijing.