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Hu Starts Visit to the UK

President Hu Jintao arrived in London on Tuesday, on a state visit to the UK at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II.

He was greeted at Heathrow Airport by Princess Anne on behalf of the Queen and later attended a welcoming ceremony featuring royal guards and a salute of 21 cannons.

In a statement, Hu said both China and the UK are countries with a time-honored history and splendid culture and that there have been long-standing exchanges between their peoples.

"In recent years, China-UK relationship has maintained a sound momentum of growth, and cooperation in various fields has produced fruitful results. Further developing the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples," it said.

Hu said that he was looking forward to an in-depth exchange of views with British leaders on relations and current major international and regional issues as well as to extensive contact with people from all walks of life.

"I hope that this visit will further enhance mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries and two peoples, promote bilateral cooperation in all fields and continue to push forward the China-UK comprehensive strategic relationship," he said.

Hu is expected to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair and deliver a speech on bilateral and international issues on Wednesday.

The UK is the first leg of the president's European and Asian trip during which he will also visit Germany, Spain and South Korea and attend the 13th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting to be held in Busan, South Korea, from November 18 to 19.

(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2005)

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