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Belfast tightens links with Chinese sister city as Lord Mayor heads delegation

Published 19/05/2016

Lord Mayor of Belfast Arder Carson meets the Mayor of Shenyang Pan Liguo, as they sign a Sister City Agreement in Shenyang, China (Belfast City Council/PA)
Lord Mayor of Belfast Arder Carson meets the Mayor of Shenyang Pan Liguo, as they sign a Sister City Agreement in Shenyang, China (Belfast City Council/PA)

Belfast's links with China have been enhanced after a sister cities agreement was signed with Shenyang.

Lord Mayor Arder Carson has led a delegation including academics and civil servants to the Liaoning provincial capital to explore areas of collaboration on urban development, tourism and education.

The development of so-called "smart city working" - using technology to improve the quality of life - and "active ageing" which aims to maximise the opportunities for health as people grow older - were also up for discussion.

The sister cities agreement effectively upgrades the relationship between Belfast and Shenyang which have had a Friendly Co-operation Agreement since 2014.

Mr Carson said: "We are here on a mission to better understand the Chinese culture and business environment and to fully explore where we can develop some concrete collaborative projects, particularly in areas where we can offer world-class excellence and partnership such as cyber security, urban development, active ageing, smart city working, the fintech and advanced manufacturing industries, the creative industries and, of course, tourism and education.

"One of my priorities this year has been to strengthen our international profile and elevate our reputation as a place to visit, study and do business.

"As the city regional driver, Belfast City Council is fully committed for a long working relationship with China."

Representatives from Queen's and Ulster Universities will also take part in engagements including meetings with the Departments of Education and Health in Shenyang; a visit to the Shenyang Centre for Urban Design and the China Queen's College - Queen's University Belfast's Joint Medical College.

The visit coincides with a trade mission to Shenyang by Invest Northern Ireland.

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