DUBLIN — Irish President Michael D. Higgins says he very much welcomes the opportunity of deepening the relationship between Ireland and China.
In an interview with Xinhua on the eve of his state visit to China, Higgins said, with regards to Ireland’s new Asian Strategy, China is considered its primary partner.
With regards to the future, Higgins urged the two countries to develop cooperation in science and technology, particularly at the high end of science and technology.
He said the two countries have made “a very good start” with the China Ireland Technology Growth Capital Fund, which has been funded from both sides to about $100 million at the present time.
The fund, set up in January 2014 with equal commitments from Ireland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) and China Investment Corporation (CIC), is aimed at supporting relevant companies of both countries to carry out R & D activities.
“The fund is very, very useful in that regard,” Higgins said.
Higgins said there are great opportunities as the two countries face common challenges at planetary level to use science and technology for the benefit of mankind in eliminating global poverty and preventable illnesses.
“China has great experience in that, in malaria and TB and other areas,” he said. “Our future must be about cooperation.”
In the interview, Higgins said Ireland and China must come together to confront the danger that is “represented to our common existence by unaccountable, speculative capital.”
“The real economy has never presented us with difficulties. We have modernized in the real economy. But we, and every other country, remains open to the threat as I described it, of speculative capital, that is neither transparent nor accountable,” he said.