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Saturday, October 24, 2015, 15:17

Hospitality creates trip to remember

By Li Xiaokun

Hospitality creates trip to remember
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Chinese President Xi Jinping are driven by carriage along The Mall to Buckingham Palace in London, Oct 20, 2015. (Photo/China Daily)

President Xi Jinping left Manchester on Friday, wrapping up the first visit of a Chinese state head to Britain in a decade.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters at the end of the visit that the trip has "repositioned" ties between China and Britain.

He also cited an editorial in the Financial Times that said the trip shows Britain has fundamentally reoriented its relations with major countries.

The visit, which was hailed as having opened a "golden era" in the key relationship, will be remembered for the impressive hospitality from the British royal family, the huge deals that were reached and a detailed plan to forge future ties that will glow over time, experts have said.

In describing the highest-level reception from the royal family, media in the UK have used such words as "most grand" and "private and sincere".

The royal family made an all-out effort on Tuesday to show Xi the full range of British-style hospitality, including the rare arrangement of frequent meetings with family members in one day.

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace on Thursday before heading for Manchester. Xi said the visit gave him a "deep and beautiful impression".

"All the details, from the 103-gun salute to the group appearance of the royal family, including the 89-year-old queen, reflect the great intimacy of the two countries," said Cui Hongjian, head of the European Division at the China Institute of International Studies.

The trip witnessed the signing of deals worth almost 40 billion pounds ($62 billion), including an agreement to build a British nuclear power plant in southwestern England.

Hospitality creates trip to remember
China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave as they board their aircraft to return to China, at Manchester airport in Britain, Oct 23, 2015. (Photo/Agencies)

British Prime Minister David Cameron described the deal as "historic". The project, in which the Chinese take a one-third stake, will provide reliable and affordable energy to nearly 6 million homes and create more than 25,000 jobs.

"Britain definitely needs to modernize its infrastructure. This is a win-win situation here," Shada Islam, director of policy at Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe, told Xinhua.

Additionally, the two nations on Thursday issued a joint declaration on building a "global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century".

The document pledged joint efforts in fields ranging from the internationalization of China's yuan and a China-EU free trade agreement to cybersecurity and climate change.

"This is a guideline to tell people how the 'golden era' will be forged," Cui said.

Qu Xing, China's ambassador to Belgium, noted that the visit follows Xi's first European tour as Chinese head of state last year to the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium.

This has shown a strong continuity in China's European strategy, Qu said.

Xi has said that since Britain is an important member of the EU, the China-UK relationship and China-EU relationship reinforce each other.

China hopes to see a united European Union in which Britain plays a prominent role in promoting Chinese relations with the bloc, Xi told Cameron during the visit.

The president returned to Beijing on Saturday morning after his five-day state visit to Britain.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Hospitality creates trip to remember
President of China Xi Jinping (right) and his wife Peng Liyuan (2nd left) accompany Britain's Queen Elizabeth (2nd right) and her husband Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh as they arrive for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London, Britain, Oct 20, 2015. (Photo/Agencies)

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