Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and his wife Peng Liyuan (3rd L) arrive in London, Britain, Oct. 19, 2015, for a state visit to Britain at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II. (Photo/Xinhua)
President begins a state visit that is expected to cement ties between China and the United Kingdom
President Xi Jinping arrived in London on Monday evening, embarking on the first state visit to the United Kingdom of a Chinese head of state in 10 years. [Special coverage]
"China attaches great importance to growing relations with the UK. I look forward to having an indepth exchange of views with British leaders on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues and also meeting people from sectors across British society to discuss the future of our ties and draw a grand blueprint for our cooperation",Xi said upon his arrival at Heathrow Airport.
He and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were greeted by Viscount Hood and Philip Hammond, the British secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs, on behalf of the Queen.
Huge national flags of China and the UK fluttered from poles along the broad avenue known as the Mall, leading from Horse Guards Parade to Buckingham Palace.
Xi will be received by Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremonial welcoming at the Royal Pavilion on Horse Guards Parade on Tuesday, before traveling to Buckingham Palace in a carriage procession along the Mall.
In central London's Chinatown, hundreds of traditional Chinese red lanterns and national flags of the two countries hang along the streets. In the main street hangs a long banner draped from the dragon archway. Its text reads "A warm welcome to President Xi Jinping to the UK", and it is decorated with the national flags.
Xi will be entertained at a state banquet hosted by the queen on Tuesday evening.
Laura King, a senior communications officer at Buckingham Palace, told China Daily, "The royal chef is responsible for managing the team of more than 20 chefs who will cater for the state banquet.