Few national leaders has had the honor of meeting so many British royals in one day, but with Chinese President Xi Jinping, all efforts have been made to ensure the distinguished guest receives a full set of British hospitality.
Addressing the State Banquet for Xi at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, British Queen Elizabeth II said the United Kingdom and China have “truly a global partnership” and the president’s state visit to Britain is a “defining moment” for the future of Sino-UK relations.
Britain and China have achieved success not only in economic cooperation but also in jointly addressing pressing international challenges, and are now ready to take bilateral relations to “ambitious new heights,” the Queen said.
The 89-year-old Queen recalled her visit to China with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1986 as with “great fondness,” and applauded China’s work over the past decades in “lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”
Echoing the queen, Xi said China and Britain, with their outstanding civilizations, have been influencing each other for centuries though far away from each other geographically.
Both as founding members of the United Nations (UN) and permanent members of the UN Security Council, the two countries share a “sacred” obligation to promote world peace and development, Xi said.
Throughout Tuesday, the royal family have spent quite some quality time with Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan.
A traditional ceremonial welcome was held by the Queen for the Chinese president at noon Tuesday in central London with the presence of senior royal family members and political leaders.
Earlier, the president and his wife had been greeted by Prince Charles on behalf of the Queen at their hotel and traveled with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to Horse Guards Parade for the ceremony.
With 41 rounds of gun salute fired from Green Park and 62 from the Tower of London, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, bathed in rare London sunshine, formally welcomed Xi and Peng at the Royal pavilion on Horse Guards Parade.
Xi, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, inspected the Guard of Honor and later joined the Queen and the Duke for a state carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, with Chinese National Anthem being played.
Thousands of people have lined around the Buckingham Palace and surrounding routes since early morning to welcome the president, who is the first Chinese head of state to visit Britain in 10 years, initiating a “golden era” for bilateral ties.
After riding through cheering crowds in the golden and black Diamond Jubilee Coach, Xi enjoyed a private lunch at Buckingham Palace with the Queen. He then viewed an exhibition of China-related items from the Royal Collection in the picture gallery of the palace and exchanged gifts with the Queen.
The enthusiastic welcome from the British side for the Chinese president is a “step forward for bilateral ties” and represents “the West and the East warmly embracing each other for a better future,” said Fu Xiaolan, professor of technology and international development at Oxford University.
Closer cooperation between China and Britain could “raise the living standards of ordinary people” and “send more kids to school,” she said, adding that Britain’s “knowledge and creativity” will also help China in its future development.
In the afternoon, Xi and Peng enjoyed tea time and Welsh music with Charles and his wife Camilla at Clarence House, after a visit to the parliament.
Source: British royal welcome for Chinese president highlights China-UK partnership – Xinhua | English.news.cn