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Foster meets senior Chinese ministers during trade mission

First Minister Arlene Foster has met with senior Chinese politicians in Shanghai at the start of her four-day visit to China to help promote business links with Northern Ireland.

Mrs Foster met Chinese vice-premier Madame Liu Yandong on Monday.

She also briefed the Chinese Ministers of Education, Culture and Finance as part of the UK-China People to People 2016 initiative.

She said she would use the trade mission to promote economic, education and cultural opportunities.

China is the world's second largest economy.

Mrs Foster said that Titanic Belfast, which won a top tourism attraction accolade last week, was on the agenda on the first day of her visit.

"Although we have already surpassed the target of 50,000 tourists from China this year, we want to see this figure continue to rise," she said.

“In the last few days alone, Belfast’s iconic Titanic Belfast attraction has been crowned the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction. This fantastic achievement once again puts the global spotlight on Northern Ireland and is further proof of our ability to deliver on a world-wide scale.”

Mrs Foster said she also briefed Chinese politicians on what she called  "our world class education system and the incredible opportunities for Chinese students".

Engagements will also take place in Shenyang and Beijing.

On Friday it emerged that Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness would not be travelling due to "unforeseen personal circumstances".

Meanwhile Amnesty International has called on Mrs Foster to raise concerns about human rights abuses in China during her trip.

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