UK Politics

China leader Xi Jinping set for UK state visit in 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Xi Jinping became Chinese President in 2012

Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to the UK later this year, a foreign office minister said.

Hugo Swire referred to the visit during an appearance before the Commons foreign affairs committee.

The Foreign Office said it was "discussing a possible visit with the Chinese", and Buckingham Palace said any state visit would be announced "in the normal way".

David Cameron and other British ministers visited Beijing in 2013.

Sino-British relations have improved since a row in 2012 over David Cameron's decision to meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Refused access

Mr Swire was being questioned by the MPs about Beijing's refusal to allow the committee into Hong Kong as part of their inquiry into British relations with its former colony.

This came after months of protests in Hong Kong by pro-democracy activists.

Mr Swire said he had spoken to the Chinese ambassador about the issue, and went on to say that 2015 would be a "an extraordinarily important year" including "amongst other things, the visit of Prince William the Duke of Cambridge for the first time, and a state visit from President Xi later on in the year".

A state visit would include a meeting with the Queen, a visit to Parliament and a meeting with the prime minister.

The last one by a Chinese leader to the UK was a decade ago when Hu Jintao visited in November 2005.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "If we were hosting a state visit, we would announce it in the normal way."

The Foreign Office said: "We are discussing a possible visit with the Chinese.

"Any future state visit would be announced in the usual way."

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