Chinese president leaves for visit to Britain
Updated: 2015-10-19 16:28
Horseguards ride down the Mall which is lined with the British and Chinese national flags ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the UK on October 19, 2015 in London, Britain.[Wu Zhiyi/China Daily]
BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping left Beijing Monday afternoon for a state visit to Britain at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II.
According to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Queen will host a welcome ceremony for Xi and invite him for both an informal lunch and a formal dinner.
Xi will hold talks with Prime Minister David Cameron and address a banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
In Manchester, the Chinese president will attend a banquet and visit research projects and local businesses.
Xi's entourage includes his wife Peng Liyuan; Wang Huning, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Policy Research Office of the CPC Central Committee; Li Zhanshu, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee; and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.
Xi says his state visit to the United Kingdom this week will chart the course for future bilateral ties.
The Chinese leader has also praised Britain's "visionary and strategic choice" to become China's best friend in the West.
Xi, who made the remarks in a written interview with Reuters on the eve of his departure for the UK on Monday, will lead a 150-member business delegation, with billions of pounds of investment planned.
The visit, the first to the UK by a Chinese head of state in a decade and Xi's first to the country in more than 20 years, has been hailed by British and Chinese officials as the start of "a golden era" of relations.