LONDON: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Britain on Monday for a four-day state visit as the government of Prime Minister David Cameron seeks stronger trade ties with the world’s second-largest economy.
Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan waved as they stepped down from a large Air China plane, and were presented with a bouquet of flowers by a welcome party as they arrived at London’s Heathrow airport.
The couple will stay as guests of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, enjoy a state banquet and visit Cameron’s country residence.
Most in focus are the business deals that could be sealed, including on Chinese investment in helping build a nuclear power plant project in southwest England.
The two countries have said the reception heralds a “golden era,” but campaign groups and British opposition figures have criticized Cameron for allowing investment opportunities to overshadow concerns over China’s human rights record.
The visit follows a trip by finance minister George Osborne to China last month, in which he said Britain should be China’s “best partner in the West.”