Chinese vice-premier begins two-day visit to Wales

Media caption,
Mrs Liu is the most senior Chinese leader to visit Wales since former premier Wen Jiabao in 2000

One of China's most senior politicians is in Wales to discuss how the two countries can form closer links.

Chinese vice-premier Liu Yandong is meeting First Minister Carwyn Jones in Cardiff on Friday as part of a two-day visit.

The Welsh and Chinese governments will sign a memorandum of understanding on cultural matters.

Mrs Liu is the most senior Chinese leader to visit since former premier Wen Jiabao in 2000.

Speaking before the visit, Mr Jones said: "Strengthening links with China, one of the world's most powerful economies, has been a long-standing aim of the Welsh government and this visit by vice-premier Liu comes as a result of our engagement with the Chinese government over many years.

"I warmly welcome the vice-premier to Wales and I look forward to discussing Wales's pro-business approach and the increasingly-strong economic ties between our countries, as well as the important cultural and educational relations between us."

The first minister also told BBC Wales he would raise the issue of human rights in China with Mrs Liu.

Image caption,
Liu Yandong with UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Thursday

Mrs Liu met Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday, who said this was a "golden year" for relations between China and the UK.

Chinese president Xi Jinping is due to make a state visit to the UK next month.

The Welsh government has tried to forge closer links with China, in particular the city of Chongqing.

During her visit, the vice-premier will also oversee the launch of a joint college between Cardiff University and Beijing Normal University.

Students will go through a four-year programme in Cardiff and Beijing.

Mr Jones will host a dinner, serving Welsh produce, later on Friday night.

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