PHUKET: Li Peng, Chairman of China’s National Assembly, is flying to Phuket on Friday for a three-day official visit. With him on the special flight will be a delegation of senior Chinese officials. Mr Li holds the Communist Party’s No. 2 post. Observers attribute to him the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy dissidents in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. As a guest of the Thai Government, Mr Li and his party will stay at the Sheraton Grande Laguna. Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi and the Chinese clubs from 14 southern provinces will host a dinner for the group at Phuket FantaSea on Friday. Maj Gen Manukrit Roopkajorn, President of the Senate, will host the group for lunch on Saturday at the Sheraton Grande Laguna. The Deputy Prime Minister, Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will host dinner that night. Mr Li arrives in Phuket at 11:30 am on Friday and flies out for Indonesia at 3:30 pm on Sunday. Meanwhile, it has been announced that The President of the Republic of Ireland, Professor Mary McAleese, will visit Phuket later this month in order to attend the Asian Gaelic Games at Surakul Stadium on September 28 and 29. Accompanying her will be her husband, Martin (himself a sportsman; he played soccer with the Antrim Minors and in 1969 became the team’s captain) and Dan Mulhall, the Irish Ambassador to Malaysia, who also has responsibility for Irish affairs in Thailand. The Asian Gaelic Games, or the “Gar” as the event is known to aficionados, brings together teams of Irish expatriates from around the region to play a variety of unusual sports. The games are open to the public, with proceeds going to a number of charities.
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