Britain to host China's Xi on first state visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping stands in front of the United Nations emblem.
Chinese President Xi Jinping stands in front of the United Nations emblem.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Chinese President Xi Jinping will make his first state visit to Britain next month, the British government said on Tuesday (Sept 29), 10 years after the last such visit by a Chinese president.

The news of Xi's Oct 20-23 visit comes a week after British finance minister George Osborne visited China to strengthen economic and financial ties.

Despite disagreements over human rights and the former British colony of Hong Kong, China values Britain's staunch defence of free trade and lack of obstacles to investing in Britain.

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, would stay at Buckingham Palace, the palace said in a statement, according to an email from the British embassy in Beijing.

The last Chinese head of state to visit Britain was President Hu Jintao in 2005.

A state visit usually includes a visit to parliament and a meeting with the prime minister.

Prince William, the queen's grandson, visited China in March, becoming the first high-level British royal to go to the country since the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, visited in 1986.