The Chinese President XI Jinping is set to arrive in the UK this evening for a four-day state visit, the first time a Chinese President has visited the UK in ten years. The President and his wife, Peng Liyuan, are to stay as guests of the Queen in Buckingham Palace and will also meet Prime Minister David Cameron and recently elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
There are predicted to be a number of topics on the President’s itinerary, which will begin on Tuesday with a meeting with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. The Prince will greet the President at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel where they will then travel to the Horse Guards Parade for a customary ceremonial welcome. A carriage procession will then take the Prince, the Queen and the President and his wife to Buckingham Palace, where they will be staying for the remainder of their visit to London. In the afternoon, President Xi will address the House of Commons and Lords before having a private meeting with Jeremy Corbyn. Reports indicate that Corbyn is keen to discuss China’s human rights record, after which they will be hosted to a state banquet by the Queen, where David Cameron, Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Phillip will also be present.
During the President’s three day visit to London, he will also be holding talks with David Cameron at Downing Street before joining Cameron and his wife for dinner at Chequers Court, the Prime Minister’s country house retreat. Mr Cameron has said that President Xi’s visit is a “very important moment” and marks a strengthening of ties between the two countries. Chancellor George Osborne has recently returned from China and has said that the Chinese government wants to make the UK their “best partner in the west.” The Chancellor and President are set to resume their discussions when the pair visit Imperial College on the second day of the President’s visit.
President Xi will also be giving speeches at Mansion House where he will be focussing on investment and innovation between UK-China businesses and will later speak at Guildhall where he is expected to outline his plans for making London the global centre for offshore Chinese finance.
On the final day of his visit to London, the President will receive a formal farewell from the Queen and Prince Phillip at Buckingham Palace, before heading to Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company, and later to the Confucius Institute at the University College London’s Institute of Education.
During the President’s visit to the UK, Prince William who has been very active in trying to forge a relationship with China is set to deliver a speech on the illegal ivory trade. There’s a large market in China for illegal animal products, such as skins and elephant tusks, used by people as ornaments or Chinese medicine. It will be the third time that Prince William has raised the issue in the past year. He spoke to the President on his previous visit to China and has been very pleased with his willingness to discuss the issue. The Chinese state TV channel CCTV1 has invited the Prince to talk about the issue of wildlife conservation and will form part of a series of programmes called Let’s Talk. The speech will take place at Maughan Library at King’s College London and will be filmed in front of students and guests. It’s expected to have about a hundred million viewers. A key priority for the Duke of Cambridge and as part of the Let’s Talk series, he will also be meeting and discussing the issue with other high profile figures such as Sir David Attenborough and Bear Grylls.
The final day of President Xi’s visit will be spent carrying out engagements in Manchester.
In addition to his Presidential obligations, President Xi is also set to take in some of the sights and scenes of Manchester. He has already revealed that he’s craving proper British fish and chips and that he wants to visit City’s famous Etihad Stadium, despite being a Manchester United supporter. President Xi will also visit the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester and is expected to take part in other activities to get a true taste of Manchester. The senior official of the Royal family, the lord chamberlain will accompany the President and the first lady to Manchester Airport where they will depart the country on Friday evening.