Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping requests fish and chips on UK visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping requests fish and chips on UK visit

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China's Xi gets royal welcome in London
Chinese President Xi Jinping is welcomed at Buckingham Palace as he begins his tour of the United Kingdom.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Britain on a high-profile state visit – one full of pomp, pageantry and a dose of controversy.
And, if reports in the British media are to be believed, there's one thing the Chinese leader really wants during his trip: fish and chips.
Yes, the traditional British supper of battered fish and chips (plus – if you are doing it right – mushy peas) is apparently on Xi's agenda during his four-day trip, the first state visit by a Chinese leader to Britain since 2005.
Chinese President Xi Jinping with Queen Elizabeth at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Chinese President Xi Jinping with Queen Elizabeth at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
British papers quoted a source involved in negotiations over the trip as saying that Xi will visit a pub near the prime minister's country retreat, Chequers, on Thursday afternoon.
"The Chinese are desperate to order fish and chips," one source told the Sunday Times
"They've asked about it repeatedly. I don't know if they know something we don't about the Chequers kitchens. It's all part of the president's view of himself as a man of the people."

Visit starts with pomp, ceremony and protests
President Xi Jinping arrives at Buckingham Palace in the Queen's gold carriage.

President Xi Jinping arrives at Buckingham Palace in the Queen's gold carriage.The Chinese President addressed Westminister parliament on Tuesday as part of the pomp-laden visit during which more than $US46 billion of deals are expected to be signed.

Britain rolled out the red carpet for  Xi, who was honoured with a 41-gun salute and given a ride in a gilded carriage with Queen Elizabeth before addressing both Houses of Parliament.

A few dozen protesters called on Prime Minister David Cameron to raise human rights with Xi, but they were outnumbered by the thousands of China supporters thronging The Mall as Xi rode with the queen for a private lunch.

Human rights protesters at Westminster.

Human rights protesters at Westminster. Photo: Carl Court
"It is fair to say that China and the UK are increasingly interdependent and are becoming a community of shared interests," said Xi, who quoted Chinese proverbs, William Shakespeare and English statesman Francis Bacon in his speech to parliament.

Xi's welcome was steeped in pageantry, underlining the growing importance of China to Britain: Cameron hopes the visit will cement a lucrative place for Britain as Beijing's closest friend in the West.

Infrastructure and investment
Xi Jinping inspects a guard of honour at Horse Guards Parade in London on Tuesday.
Xi Jinping inspects a guard of honour at Horse Guards Parade in London on Tuesday.
For Britain, the four-day state visit is the culmination of a three-year charm offensive to attract investment in infrastructure, nuclear power and the government's planned transformation of northern England.
Hailed as the start of a 'golden era' in Sino-British relations, the visit has been criticised by activists who accuse Cameron of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses.
Opposition Labour leader Corbyn promised to raise rights during his meeting with Xi, while Cameron plans to raise sensitive issues such as the impact of cheap Chinese imports on struggling British steel-makers. 
But any such sour notes, including Prince Charles' decision to not attend a state banquet, are unlikely to spoil a visit that has been long in the making.
Britain was the top destination for Chinese money in 2014, with $US5.1 billion in investment, according to law firm Baker & McKenzie.
This year, it became the first Western nation to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank after Washington had pressed allies not to join.