President Michael D Higgins is to make a State visit to China later this month.

Mr Higgins will visit China from 7-15 December following an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The President and his wife Sabina will attend events organised by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Tourism Ireland and Culture Ireland.

The last State visit to China was by former president Mary McAleese in 2003.

Mr Higgins has recently returned from an official three-week trip to Africa, where he visited Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan will accompany President Higgins on the trip.

Mr Xi spent three days in Ireland in February 2012.

Among the attractions he visited were Bunratty Castle and Croke Park, while he also had a calf named after him in Sixmilebridge.