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China's President Xi Jinping receives royal welcome in Belgium

Published on Mar 30, 2014 9:05 PM
 

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Xi Jinping received a royal welcome and an honorary knighthood in Brussels on Sunday at the start of a three-day visit that will see him become the first Chinese leader to visit EU headquarters.

Dozens of royal horsemen escorted Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan as they rolled up to the Brussels palace to be greeted by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde as more than 300 people including many Chinese waving national flags looked on.

In the palace's Empire Room, the king bestowed the Order of Leopold on Xi, who is on the last leg of his maiden swing through Europe as president.

Later Sunday, the royal couple will join the Chinese pair for the official opening of a special park for two giant pandas on loan from China for the next 15 years.

Belgium's King Philippe (front right) and China's President Xi Jinping review honour guards during an official ceremony in Brussels March 30, 2014. Xi Jinping received a royal welcome and an honorary knighthood in Brussels on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at the start of a three-day visit that will see him become the first Chinese leader to visit EU headquarters. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
 
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