Li Changchun, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), arrived on Sunday on an official goodwill visit to Britain to promote bilateral ties and cultural exchange.
Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau, said in a written statement issued upon his arrival that the Chinese government and the CPC attach great importance to the relations between the two countries and aim to push forward the China-Britain comprehensive strategic partnership.
Li's visit came at a time when China and Britain are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their full diplomatic relations this year.
"The United Kingdom was the first major Western country to have recognized the new China. Last month, China and Britain celebrated the 40th anniversary of the full diplomatic relationship," Li said. "Despite the vicissitudes of the international situation, the relations between our two countries have been steadily progressing through thick and thin over the past four decades."
Given that the international situation is currently undergoing complex and profound changes, while difficulties and uncertainties still persist in the recovery and development of the world economy, China and Britain share even greater challenges as well as common interests, he added.
Li was scheduled to attend a ceremony later Sunday as China is honored as the Market Focus at this year's London Book Fair, one of the world's largest book fairs which will kick off on Monday and is expected to attract 25,000 visitors worldwide.
During his four-day visit, Li will also meet British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague on bilateral ties.
Li said he is looking forward to exchanging views with British leaders as well as cultural and business communities to promote bilateral cooperation and build mutual trust. It was expected that a series of cooperation agreements will be signed between the two countries.
Britain is the first leg of Li's tour. He will also visit Canada, Colombia and Indonesia.