Li: Royal family's support of relations is appreciated

Updated: 2014-06-18 01:44

By Zhang Chunyan in London (China Daily)

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Li: Royal family's support of relations is appreciated

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II receives Premier Li Keqiang and his wife, Cheng Hong, at Windsor Castle in southern England on Tuesday. [Photo/Agencies]

Exchanges of young people will improve understanding, Queen Elizabeth says

Queen Elizabeth II greeted Premier Li Keqiang and his wife on Tuesday during Li's official visit to Britain.

A military band performed for Li and his wife, Cheng Hong, at Windsor Castle in the morning before the queen greeted the pair. A large crowd, including Chinese nationals, gathered outside the castle to watch Li's arrival.

The queen was joined by her son Prince Andrew in the White Drawing Room, where Queen Elizabeth smiled and shook Li's hand.

Li conveyed the greetings and good wishes from President Xi Jinping to the queen.

"China is willing to work together with the UK to push forward bilateral relations to a better and higher level, and bring more benefits to the two peoples," Li said.

The two countries represent the Eastern and Western civilizations, Li said, adding, "We would like to engage in mutual learning with the UK and perfectly combine traditional civilization and modern civilization and make new contributions for the progress of humanity."

China greatly appreciates the support of the queen and royal family for Sino-British relations, Li added.

Queen Elizabeth asked Li to convey her cordial greetings to President Xi Jinping. The queen said her visit to China in 1986 was very impressive, adding that China has experienced huge changes, and Sino-British relations have developed greatly since then.

More and more Chinese students and visitors come to the UK to study and travel nowadays, the queen said.

Strengthening the exchanges between young people from the two countries will help expand their vision and improve mutual understanding and friendship, she said.

Li's visit is the first to the UK by a Chinese premier since 2011. Li, who arrived in Britain on Monday, later met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior government officials at 10 Downing St, the British government headquarters.

Li said in an article in the British newspaper The Times that he hopes the trip will help to "present the real China so as to change misperceptions and ease misgivings".

British media are reporting that Queen Elizabeth's meeting with Li was an exception to etiquette because Li is not a head of state. But in fact, some other non-heads of state have met with the queen.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had tea with the queen at Buckingham Palace in a high-profile visit to London in February. Germany's head of state is President Joachim Gauck. Merkel's support is seen as crucial to Cameron's aims to reform the UK's relationship with the EU.