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Matt Cooper: Our relationship with an increasingly dominant China demands scrutiny

The Minister for the Environment’s upcoming state visit to China – a country that has been expanding its influence globally, amid growing security concerns in the West – provides an opportunity for some much-needed public discussions

Xi Jinping, then China’s vice-president, kicks a Gaelic football at Croke Park in Dublin in February 2012 during a three-day visit to Ireland. Picture: Peter Muhly/Getty

Eamon Ryan is heading to China for St Patrick’s Day. That’s an interesting choice of minister, given that it means our government’s main environmentalist is visiting the world’s most carbon-emitting country. Of course, if that was our criteria for not sending emissaries then we mightn’t have any minister visiting the US either, but there are plenty of other reasons why our state’s relationship with China demands review.

It is 11 years since Xi Jinping, the ...