World / Asia-Pacific

Australian students invited by Chinese president to visit China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-23 10:27

MELBOURNE -- A group of Tasmanian elementary school students have been issued a formal invitation to visit China from President Xi Jinping, after they wrote to him asking the leader to visit Tasmania last year.

The 22 students attending grade 6 at Scotch Oakburn College in Launceston met Xi during his visit in November last year, after they sent him letters in Mandarin explaining why he should visit Australia's southernmost state.

School principal Andy Muller said that the students were shocked at the invitation, which includes a six day visit to the Chinese capital city, Beijing, in May.

"I think the students understand that this is a big moment, and they understand that it is a huge opportunity and it's very exciting," he said on Thursday.

"But to actually be invited by the president of China, I'm not sure that any of us realize here in Australia quite how big it is. "

The news followed last month's visit to China by Tasmania's Premier Will Hodgman, whose continued efforts to build networks in China has resulted in further trade talks and a stronger connection with the Asian power.

Muller said the invitation is a testament to the growing relationship between Tasmania and China.

"More broadly for the state, it just further enhances that connection we've got with China from the Tasmanian perspective," he said.

"We see our premier has met now with President Xi three times in six months and I don't think there is anyone else around the world who has met with him as many times in such a short period of time."

The students will be treated to sightseeing tour around the capital city and they will visit to a sister college in Beijing, which had been attended by Xi's daughter during her time in school.

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