Xi gets royal invitation to visit UK during meeting Prince William

Updated: 2015-03-02 13:00

By WU JIAO and ZHAO SHENGNAN(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Xi gets royal invitation to visit UK during meeting Prince William

Prince William meets President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 2, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]

President Xi Jinping said on Monday he looks forward to visiting Britain this year at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II as he received Prince William, the first senior British royal to visit the Chinese mainland in a generation.

The relationship between China and Britain is heading for the fast track, Xi said in Beijing, highlighting two-way trade worth $80 billion and cooperation in sectors including finance, nuclear power and high-speed rail.

The president thanked the contribution of the British royal family in enhancing cooperation in trade, environmental protection and culture, and welcomed the prospect of more royals visiting China.

Fascinated by China since childhood, the prince, also the the Duke of Cambridge, said his goal was to boost greater cooperation between the countries, especially in strengthening exchanges between young people.

Xi and the prince, both avid soccer fans, also discussed greater sports exchanges between China and Britain.

Before the meeting at the Great Hall of the People, the prince visited a courtyard house in an old-style alley known as a hutong that has been turned into a museum by charities associated with his father, Prince Charles.

He chatted with representatives from charities working in China and received a hand-drawn picture from a Chinese child.

He also visited the Forbidden City on Monday.

Beijing is the first stop of his four-day visit to China and the prince will to travel to Shanghai and Yunnan province, where he will visit an elephant sanctuary and a nature reserve.