The Chinese government has presented its prestigious international friendship award to Cork — the first Irish city to twin with a Chinese city more than a decade ago.
Lord Mayor Cllr Des Cahill collected the Friendship City Award for Exchanges and Cooperation with China yesterday at the China International Friendship Cities Conference in Chongqing.
Cork, which twinned with Shanghai in 2005, was selected ahead of some of the world’s largest cities, including Adelaide, Darwin, Auckland, Antwerp, Berlin, and Cincinnati, who also have sister city relationships with Chinese cities.
Mr Cahill, who was invited to take part in the conference by the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, said it was particularly satisfying to win as Cork was one of only three of Shanghai’s 85 sister cities to be nominated.
“Coming after the very successful 10th anniversary celebration of the sister city relationship in 2015, this has strengthened the bonds between Cork and one of the great world cities, Shanghai,” he said.
The award, he added, is testament to all those who have made the twinning link work, which has led to a deeper understanding between the people of both cities, and exchanges in the areas of economy and trade, education, culture, local government, and training.
Cork City Council has been developing ties with China since 2002, and in 2005, it became the first Irish city to twin with a Chinese city.
Five Chinese companies are now based in Cork, hundreds of Chinese students attend its third-level colleges, and hi-tech research links have been established, there are exchanges between local government officials, several exchanges have taken place between second level students in Cork and Shanghai, and Chinese is being taught in several city primary schools.
The council has continued to forge links in China, beginning the process in 2011 of twinning with the Hangzhou and the Wuxi Municipal People’s Governments and three years ago, it moved a step closer to twinning with the Shenzhen Municipal Peoples’ Government when it concluded a Memorandum of Understanding.
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