China to grant Ireland unilateral visa-free treatment

China will apply a unilateral visa-free policy to Ireland to facilitate personnel exchanges between the two countries, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said on Wednesday when meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House, the official Irish state guest house.

Li is paying an official visit to Ireland from Tuesday to Wednesday.

China and Ireland should adhere to mutual benefit and always regard each other as key cooperative partners and development opportunities, Li said.

He urged both sides to expand trade, strengthen cooperation in fields such as green and low-carbon development, sustainable agriculture as well as finance, and expand cooperation in digital economy, biomedicine and artificial intelligence.

China hopes Ireland will provide an open, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies, the Chinese premier said.

For his part, Varadkar said Ireland appreciates China’s great achievements in economic and social development, always abides by the one-China principle and hopes that China will achieve peaceful reunification at an early date.

Ireland is ready to expand two-way investment with China, he said, calling for more cooperation in agriculture, innovation and green development.

He added that Ireland is willing to actively consider providing more convenience to Chinese visitors and deepen people-to-people exchanges in fields such as education and culture.

On Wednesday, Li also met with Irish President Michael D. Higgins and urged both sides to uphold a free and open international trading system and maintain the stable and smooth flow of global industrial and supply chains.

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