Clare County Council has accepted an invitation from the People’s Republic of China to send a delegation to the country later this year.
Since the visit of China’s Vice President Xi Jinping’s to Clare in 2012, the local authority has been exploring the potential of establishing a twinning arrangement that fosters the development of closer industrial, tourism, farming, educational and cultural ties between the County and China.
Members of Clare County Council today voted in favour of accepting an invitation from the Vice President of Yunnan Province to visit the region in April or May 2015 with a view to building links between the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Stone Forest Geopark (Shilin Geopark), located in the southwest of China.
An invitation had originally been extended to the Council to visit Yunnan Province in June 2014 but could not be accepted due to the Local and European Elections being held at that time.
“Over the past two years, the Council has been exploring ways of developing links between both regions through the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese Embassy and Yunnan Province of the People’s Republic of China,” said Cllr. John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council.
Cllr. Crowe, who first tabled a motion in March 2012 calling for a twinning arrangement between the two regions to be explored, added: “I am delighted that my colleagues have given their backing to the Council accepting an invitation to visit Yunnan this year.”
“Yunnan is well known for its geologic significance. Like the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, Yunnan Stone Forest Geopark is renowned for its karst landscape and it is also a UNESCO recognised Geopark. Clare County Council and the Yunnan provincial government have recognised these common links and therefore, are committed to exploring the potential to generate positive tourism, educational and farming benefits for both regions. Yunnan government officials have also taken note of the visit of Mr. Xi Jinping, Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China, to the Cliffs of Moher in February 2012,” said Cllr. Crowe.
“Over the coming weeks details of the proposed visit will be drawn up and a decision will be made regarding the makeup of the travelling delegation,” he added.
Yunnan, which has a population of more than 46 million, is located in the far southwest of China and borders Vietnam, Laos and Burma. Travel guide Lonely Planet describes the region as “one of the trendiest destinations for China’s exploding domestic tourist industry.”