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Xi to initiate 'golden era' in ties

China Daily, October 14, 2015 Adjust font size:

President Xi Jinping's UK visit starting next week will lead to the signing of agreements worth "a huge amount" and initiate "a golden era" in Beijing's relations with London, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said the president will meet with members of the British royal family, but it did not give details, such as whether Xi will see the newborn princess, Charlotte.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Xi will make the visit from Oct 19 to 23 at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II.

This will be the first visit by a Chinese president in a decade. The last Chinese head of state to visit Britain was then-president Hu Jintao in 2005.

Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Chao said later on Tuesday that Xi will visit London and Manchester.

In the capital, he will attend a series of activities hosted by the queen, such as a welcoming ceremony, a review of the Blues and Royals cavalry regiment, an informal luncheon and a formal welcoming dinner.

He will also meet with Prime Minister David Cameron, Wang said at a news conference about the visit.

Xi will also address Parliament and speak at a dinner hosted by the mayor of London.

In Manchester, the president will visit research and commercial projects.

"The leaders will draw a blueprint for China-UK relations and start a golden era of the ties," Wang said.

Deals signed during the visit will cover such areas as finance, real estate, energy, healthcare and the automobile industry, Assistant Minister of Commerce Zhang Ji told the news conference.

"It (money involved) will be a huge figure, exceeding those signed during previous UK visits by Chinese leaders," he said.

The two countries also are expected to seal a major nuclear energy agreement during the visit.

Cui Hongjian, an expert on European studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said the visit will play a strategic role in future ties between Beijing and London.

"Through the visit, the two countries will seek to ensure that bilateral relations will not see major turbulence in the future and that they will operate on a healthy and stable channel," Cui said.

The queen's press secretary has said that Xi and his wife will stay at Buckingham Palace during their stay.

Prince William, the queen's grandson and second-in-line to the throne, met with Xi in March in the highest-profile visit to China by a member of the British royal family since the queen and her husband made a state visit to the country in 1986.