Madam Wang Shuying, China’s first Consul General in Northern Ireland, bids farewell at a reception in the Chinese Consulate General Belfast, in the presence of a large attendance of representatives from the Northern Ireland Assembly, Civil Service, Local Government, Consul Generals, Honorary Consuls and many friends from the business, education and civic society.
The very popular Madam Wang, in her farewell speech, spoke about how much she has enjoyed her four years in Northern Ireland and how impressed she has been with the friendliness of the people.
“It was a great honour to be the first Chinese Consul General in Belfast. I came with three most important missions: establishing and launching the new Chinese Consulate General; building the good foundation for stronger friendship and closer cooperation between China and Northern Ireland; and providing good consular services to local Chinese residents. As you know, our team started from the very beginning by searching for an office and with the timely help of Northern Ireland Executive and other friends, this beautiful premises was acquired quickly, so that we could settle down and host all friends here today.
“Since my arrival in Belfast on December 29, 2014, I have been deeply impressed by Northern Ireland friendly people and beautiful scenery. I highly appreciate the valuable friendship and support from government, civil service, business leaders and all walks of life here. In particular, I owe so much thanks to my whole team in the Chinese Consulate General for their support and standing firmly behind me in my duties as Consul General.
“We have been closely working with Northern Ireland government and other social sectors to promote China-NI people-to-people friendship and win-win cooperation. With joint efforts of both sides, huge progress and breakthroughs have been achieved during these years. Both governments have maintained frequent exchanges of visits at all levels. From China, President of the Supreme People’s Court Zhou Qiang, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and numerous governors and mayors respectively came to visit Northern Ireland.
“In the past two years, Mr Speaker Newton and Head of Civil Service Mr David Sterling warmly received quite a few important Chinese delegations and successfully hosted the Third China-UK Regional Leaders Summit in Belfast last December. This October Mr Sterling led a high-level Northern Ireland delegation to attend the Fourth China-UK Regional Leaders Summit in Dalian, along with it were Mayors and representatives from six District Councils, Chambers of Commerce and other sectors. Northern Ireland became the spotlight of this event. The summits served as an important platform for multi-communication and launched a new era of China-Northern Ireland comprehensive relationship.
“As remarkable progress, China’s Liaoning and Hubei provinces respectively signed friendship agreements with Northern Ireland. The first two sister-cities of Shenyang and Belfast have set up as a good example. Now China’s Changchun and Newry, Dalian and Derry/Londonderry, Taizhou and Armagh, Huangshi and Fermanagh, Donghai and Mid and East Antrim are all in the positive process of twinning and have established friendship agreements. After a period of exploring, the win-win strategy of China-NI economic and trade cooperation is getting more focused on the regions such as Hubei and Liaoning provinces and on the fields of advanced manufacturing, life science, agri-food, education and tourism.
“The year 2016 marks the breakthrough of Chinese investment in Northern Ireland. Now Thompson Aero, SDC Trailor and Gaelic Electricity have been performing well with fast growing jobs and revenue. NI companies, Karro and Cranswick, were qualified to export pork to China and Lakeland Dairies is increasing China’s market share. Randox and Yelo are seeking expansion of their existing investment in China, and UK beef is also in process of getting access permission to China.
“Now Queen’s University and Ulster University are hosting nearly 1,400 Chinese students. Last year almost 70,000 Chinese tourists visited Giants Causeway and other tourist places. The Confucius Institute at Ulster University has more than 21,500 registered students covering 160 local schools. We are glad to see that the Chinese community has made a positive contribution to your local economy and society.”
Madam Wang concluded her speech by saying: “The Chinese government attaches great importance to developing friendly-cooperative relationship with Northern Ireland.
“I sincerely hope you could continue the valuable support and help to my successor and the Chinese Consulate General. The relay baton will pass on to upgrade further friendly-cooperative relationship among new historical opportunities. I am fully confident that China-UK and NI relationship will have much brighter future.
“I am leaving for Beijing next week but our friendship will last forever, with all of you friends being treasured in my deep heart and the Giant Causeway, Mourne Mountains, and Lough Neagh living in my beautiful memories. I wish we can meet again somewhere someday.”