Britain’s Prince William arrived on March 1st for a four day trip to China meant to foster economic cooperation and cultural exchange between China and the United Kingdom.
No member of the British royal family has visited China in almost three decades, but with China’s economic reforms during that time, which in turn opened the world to China and its people, Prince William’s goodwill tour has already been beneficial to both countries.
Chinese president Xi Jinping highlighted the $80 billion trade pact struck between the two countries as well as a cooperation agreement in the sectors of finance, nuclear power, and high-speed rail, reports China Daily.
Prince William also hopes to strengthen the cultural exchange between young Chinese and British people, including sports. In fact, President Jinping and Prince William, both avid soccer fans, discussed building sports relationships between the two countries.
In addition to meeting the Chinese president, Prince William’s first full day in China was a busy one. Before meeting the president in the Great Hall of the People, he visited a courtyard house in one of Beijing’s hutongs that had been turned into a museum by charities associated with him and his father, Prince Charles. After the meeting with the president, the prince toured the Forbidden City.
Prince William will travel to Shanghai and the Yunnan province over the next couple days. Prince William’s itinerary, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, is as follows:
March 1st: Arrives at the Beijing airport where he was greeted by the British ambassador to China, Barbara Woodward.
March 2nd: Visits the museum paid for by his and his father’s charities. Next, he met with President Jinping at the Great Hall of the People. He was then set to visit the Forbidden City after which he met with an undisclosed Chinese government official.
March 3rd: Travels to Shanghai to speak on creativity and design at the Long Museum. He is expected to discuss the topic in relation to Jaguar Land Rover, the BBC, and British Airways. He will then observe Chinese students during soccer training and then participate in the first ever British Council Global Alumni Awards, which honors Chinese students who have studied in the U.K. Afterward, he will attend the ceremony to open a recently restored heritage building followed by a visit to the British Centre where he will officially open new offices.
March 4th: Arrives in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province where he will speak with the elders from a village of the Dai people and visit an elephant sanctuary. Before returning home, he will also tour local botanical gardens and meet with forestry officials to discuss conservation efforts in China before giving a speech on conservation and illegal wildlife tracking.
President Jinping says he is looking forward to visiting Britain as the two countries continue to build their relationship.
image credit: vee de rodgers