A royal welcome

Updated: 2015-10-21 11:24

By Wu Jiao and Zhang Chunyan in London(China Daily USA)

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Queen: Xi visit 'defining moment' in Sino-UK relations that will 'serve the two countries for many years to come'

China and Britain have made many first achievements in their relations, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday in his first public speech during his state visit, which Queen Elizabeth has called "a defining moment".

Addressing peers and MPs in the Royal Gallery at Westminster, Xi reviewed the historic relationship between the two countries.

"Although China and the UK are located at opposite ends of Eurasia, we have long shared a deep mutual affection," he said.

He said the UK is the largest overseas offshore RMB trading center after Hong Kong, and has hosted more Chinese students and Confucius Institutes than any other European-Union country.

He also mentioned that Britain had become the first Western country to issue RMB sovereign bonds after it became the first major Western country to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member.

China and the UK are "increasingly interdependent and becoming a community of shared interests", he said.

In the speech, Xi quoted Shakespeare as well as ancient Chinese proverbs, and he mentioned the involvement of Chinese troops in the Normandy landings in World War II. Xi described entering the Palace of Westminster as like "going back in time".

"China's first code of statutes was compiled more than 2,000 years ago," he said.

"Today, as the Chinese people are advancing the rule of law in an all-around way, they draw inspiration not only from China's own legal tradition, but also from the best practices of other countries," Xi said.

Toward the end of his speech, Xi told the assembled MPs, peers and ministers that he hoped they would continue to "promote the UK's relations with China, strengthen our friendship and support our cooperation".

He added, "I hope you will build a bridge of understanding and cooperation so as to help create an even brighter and more promising future for our bilateral ties."

Leaving the Parliament, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, then went to Clarence House to meet with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for tea.

In the evening, the queen gave a state banquet for Xi at Buckingham Palace. "The relationship between the UK and China is now truly a global partnership," she said in her speech.

"We have much reason to celebrate the dynamic, growing economic relationship between our countries, as well as our success in working together to address pressing international challenges," she said.

The queen also said that Xi's visit is "a defining moment" in this very special year for the bilateral relations.

"I am confident that it will serve to highlight the sincerity and warmth of our friendship and strengthen relations between our countries for years to come," she said.

Rana Mitter, director of the China Centre at the University of Oxford, told China Daily, "China-UK

relations are currently warm and should develop well as two major nations learn to deal with each other in a friendly and frank way."

On Wednesday morning, Xi will visit Imperial College London, the UK's number one research collaborator with China.

Contact the writer at zhangchunyan@chinadaily.com.cn

 A royal welcome

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip escort President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan during a ceremonial welcome at Horse Guards Parade in London on Tuesday. The couple are guests of the queen during the state visit to the UK. Wu Zhiyi / China Daily

 A royal welcome

President Xi Jinping and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ride together in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach along the Mall to Buckingham Palace in central London on Tuesday. Xi is on a state visit to the UK. Wu Zhiyi / China Daily

 A royal welcome

President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, accompanied by Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, view a display of Chinese items from the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace in London on Tuesday. Reuters

A royal welcome

(China Daily USA 10/21/2015 page1)