LONDON (REUTERS) - Chinese President Xi Jinping lauded the close ties with Britain during a speech to the Westminster Parliament on Tuesday (Oct 20), saying the two countries were increasingly interdependent.
"It is fair to say that China and the UK are increasingly interdependent and are becoming a community of shared interests," he said in a speech on the first full day of his state visit to London.
"I am already deeply impressed by the vitality of China-UK relations and the profound friendship between our peoples," he added.
He singled out Britain's place as the leading offshore yuan trading center outside Hong Kong and its pioneering issuance of yuan-denominated sovereign bonds, while noting that Britain was the first major Western country to apply for membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Addressing an audience including Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr Xi said that his four-day visit provides an opportunity to lift bilateral ties to a "new height".
"I'm confident that the people of China and the UK, who are creative and eager to embrace change, can surely make more opportunities and take our relationship to a new level."
His visit comes at a time when British steel plants are being closed and more than 5,000 workers face losing their jobs in the face of cheaper imports from China.
Shortly before Mr Xi's address, business secretary Sajid Javid told the lower House of Commons that Mr Cameron would raise "unfair trade" in his talks with the Chinese President.
Mr Xi also addressed the rule of law in his speech amid concerns that British companies do not face a level playing field in China. Chinese regulators denied claims that investigators have unfairly targeted foreign businesses after GlaxoSmithKline was fined a record sum for bribery last year.
"Our goal is to ensure all are equal before the law, to accelerate the development of a system of socialist law-based governance with distinct Chinese features and steadily promote the making of sound laws, strict law enforcement, judicial justice and the building of a law-abiding nation," Mr Xi said.
"He who abides by the law will make a country strong, while he who fails to do so will make a country weak."