XI JINPING, the man in line to be China’s next leader, will make a landmark visit to Ireland this month to discuss tourism, trade and other issues, The Irish Times has learned.
Mr Xi (58) is expected to be here from February 18th to 20th, sources said, on a trip that will also take in a meeting in Washington with US president Barack Obama on February 14th, along with a visit to Turkey.
A full statement will be released today in Beijing.
The itinerary is still being developed and many aspects have yet to be confirmed but it is believed the visit will likely include a trip to the west of Ireland, including Shannon, to showcase the country as a tourism destination, as well as several business engagements in Dublin to promote trade links between Ireland and China.
“Cultural activities and Chinese community events are also anticipated,” the source said.
The son of a veteran revolutionary and guerrilla leader, Mr Xi is one of the “princelings” of the Chinese Communist Party’s political dynasties, and is generally described as being charismatic and engaging, but not likely to be a reformer.
He is set to succeed President Hu Jintao when his second term ends in October this year, and could rule China for the next decade.