Ambassador Zheng Zeguang Gives Speech to Representatives of Various Sectors in Northern Ireland

On 27 March 2023, H.E. Ambassador Zheng Zeguang, who was visiting Northern Ireland, attended a welcome reception at the  Chinese Consulate General in Belfast and delivered a speech. The reception was presided over by Consul General Zhang Meifang, and Vice Lord Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast Alan Logan delivered a welcome speech at the event. More than 150 guests, including Permanent Secretary Denis McMahon, Lord Mayor Christina Black of Belfast, Chairperson Michael Savage of Newry, Mayor Scott Carson of Lisburn, Chief Executive Mel Chittock of Invest Northern Ireland, and President Ian Greer of Queen’s University Belfast, from local government, assembly, business community, education, culture, think tanks, media and other sectors attended the event.

Ambassador Zheng shared his perspective of the trip to Northern Ireland and his views on China-UK relations, focusing on deepening understanding and promoting friendship and cooperation between the two sides.

Ambassador Zheng noted that the purpose of his visit was to help the two sides better know and understand each other. More and more friends in Northern Ireland want to understand China, and many students have begun to learn Chinese, which is very encouraging. What are the Chinese people doing now? Having achieved the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, we are working towards the second centenary goal of achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through the Chinese path to modernisation.

The Two Sessions of China, that is, the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), held earlier this month were of great significance. We elected a new leadership of the state institutions and the CPPCC National Committee, launched a series of new institutional reforms, and made a comprehensive plan for economic and social development in 2023. General Secretary Xi Jinping was re-elected unanimously as President of China and Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, which fully reflects the common aspiration of the people of all ethnic groups in the country. China has a strong political leadership, and its major policies are transparent and highly stable and consistent. Its market is huge, supported by the world’s most complete industrial structure and largest human resources. In 2023, China’s economy will be operating at full capacity to realise sustained recovery and growth. This will inject new vitality into the world economy and bring new opportunities for cooperation between China and other countries.

Ambassador Zheng pointed out that he has also come to promote friendship and cooperation. There are differences and disagreements between China and the UK, but there is broad space for cooperation. China’s development is an opportunity rather than a challenge to the UK. This is a basic fact.

As long as the principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation are upheld, and the direction of dialogue and cooperation is followed, China-UK relations will be able to develop smoothly. This is a lesson drawn from history.

Ambassador Zheng said that he agrees with Dr Logan that the people of China and Northern Ireland have a profound friendship. With the joint efforts of the two sides, China and Northern Ireland have carried out fruitful cooperation in various fields such as economy, trade, education, culture and tourism in recent years. During this visit, I have personally felt the strong will of all circles in Northern Ireland to cooperate with China. The two sides should jointly tap into the potential and actively expand cooperation in new energy, financial technology, financial services, higher education, health, high-end manufacturing, agricultural product processing and other fields to help achieve our respective development goals and better benefit the two countries and the two peoples.

China will encourage more Chinese groups, enterprises, students and tourists to come to Northern Ireland, and believes that in Northern Ireland they will find a safe and friendly cultural environment and a fair and open business environment. We welcome people from all walks of life in Northern Ireland to visit China more often, and hope that the business community in Northern Ireland will expand into the Chinese market and share development opportunities through platforms such as the China International Fair for Trade in Services, the China International Import Expo, the Canton Fair and the World Intelligence Congress.

Dr Logan warmly welcomed Ambassador Zheng and his delegation. He said that the bonds of friendship between Northern Ireland and China are time-honoured. In recent years, the two sides have had fruitful cooperation in areas of economy and trade, education, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and sister city relations. Northern Ireland wishes to strengthen exchanges with China, enhance mutual understanding, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, and better benefit the people of the two sides.

Guests from various sectors also extended warm welcome to Ambassador Zheng and his delegation. They spoke highly of China’s great achievements and expressed their willingness to promote exchanges and cooperation across sectors and to enhance mutual understanding and friendly cooperation between China and Northern Ireland.

At the reception, local artists presented wonderful performances with distinctive national characteristics