China and Ireland on Friday agreed to further strengthen parliamentary cooperation to contribute to the strategic partnership for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
The agreement came as Li Zhanshu, chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), held talks with Sean O'Fearghail, chairperson of the Dail Eireann, lower house of the Irish parliament.
Communication and cooperation between legislature bodies is an important channel to enhance mutual trust between countries, said Li.
China's NPC stands ready to have exchanges of visits with the parliament of Ireland at various levels, conduct cooperation and dialogue on the basis of equal treatment and mutual respect, and enhance exchanges of experiences on state governance, said Li.
He called on the two sides to know and respect each other's stances and concerns on major issues and maintain the political foundation of bilateral relations.
Li also encouraged both countries to boost understanding and friendship between the two peoples.
O'Fearghail, for his part, said the Irish parliament supports mutually beneficial cooperation with China in different areas and is willing to enhance friendship with the NPC.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up policy, while next year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Ireland.
Li said China hopes both sides can take the opportunity to further promote cooperation in areas including trade, investment, and science and technology, explore new forms of cooperation in the construction of experimental free trade zones and free ports, and create new growth points within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
As both China and Ireland are firm supporters of economic globalization and free trade, the two countries need to jointly safeguard the multilateral trade system, oppose protectionism, and build an open economy, Li said.
On China-EU relations, Li said China has always viewed the ties from a strategic height and a long-term perspective, and firmly supported a united, stable, prosperous, and open European Union (EU).
China hopes Ireland can continue to play a unique and constructive role in and make greater contributions to the healthy and stable development of China-EU relations, Li said.
Also on Friday, China's top political advisor Wang Yang met with O'Fearghail.
Wang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said Ireland is China's good friend and partner in the EU.
Bilateral ties have maintained a healthy and sound momentum of development in recent years and both countries have expanded their pragmatic cooperation in various areas, said Wang.
The CPPCC is willing to work with the Irish parliament to continue frequent contact, enhance trust, and promote cooperation, he said.
O'Fearghail said Ireland and China have huge cooperative potential in economy, culture, and social fields, and the Irish parliament is ready to play a positive role in promoting bilateral ties.
O'Fearghail is paying a visit to China from April 24 to 29 at the invitation of Li.