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Xiamen, China to become Richmond's next sister city

Richmond is entering its third sister city relationship—this time with China.

On Tuesday, officials from Richmond and Xiamen signed a letter of intent to enter into a sister city agreement. The move advances the status of the two cities from “friendship” status, which was formalized in 2008.

At a ceremony at Richmond City Hall, attended by a delegation from Xiamen, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie characterized the event as a “new milestone” in the relationship between the two cities.

“Once the City of Richmond and Xiamen become sister cities we can better promote and develop exchanges and co-operation in culture, education, tourism, science and technology, business and trade, to mention only a few,” he said.

Xiamen’s deputy mayor, Cangzhou Zhan, told the crowd through an interpreter that the two cities are in a “honeymoon period.” Xiamen officials will now go through “legal procedures” to get approval for the sister city status from the Chinese government.

Once that happens, City of Richmond officials will travel to Xiamen to sign the formal agreement.

Xiamen is on the southeast coast of China, with a population of 2.25 million.

Shugen Liang, Consul General for the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver, said he hoped the agreement will encourage more visits between populations of the two cities.

“I hope the exchange of people-to-people visits, the relationship between the two cities will continue to grow, which would also promote the friendship between the people of Canada and China.”

Next year Richmond will mark the 45th anniversary of its sister city relationship with Pierrefonds, Que. and its 40th anniversary with its sister city relationship with Wakayama, Japan.

Richmond’s sister city program has a proposed budget of $234,410 for 2011-2013. It’s expected to be approved by council early summer.

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