Ma Zhengang, ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China, undertook a two day tour around the District of Easington - once the hub of Britain's coalmining industry where 11,000 jobs were lost in the last decade.
The visit was organised at the request of local MP, John Cummings, in conjunction with Easington DC.
Mr Zhengang was shown examples of the positive steps being taken to
He toured the enterprise zones in the district, including Brackenhill in Peterlee, and Foxcover/Dawdon near Seaham - now accessed by a new link road from the A19. He also meet with Northern Training in Peterlee, to see what steps the training agency is taking to help in job creation.
The delegation also visited TRW to see a newly opened factory in Peterlee where airbag inflators are produced for the car industry. The delegation visited Dong Jin Precision, a Korean firm supplying metal pressings and stampings to Samsung for microwaves. Dong Jin was the first investor to take advantage of Enterprise Zone status in the district.
Mr Cummings said: 'This was an excellent opportunity to showcase the regeneration work going on in the district. The Peoples Republic of China are facing similar challenges so we had a lot in common and a lot to talk about.'
Easington's economic development committee chair Tom Crowley said: 'The fact that one of the world's leading diplomats from one of the top three world powers is taking in an interest in the district
speaks volumes. This is indeed a prestigeous visit. The ambassador will get a chance to meet with investors and find out what attracted them to the district. We are also looking forward to talking with Mr Zhengang and his party about the potential for inward investment and joint venture projects.'