Chinese President Begins Busy State Visit to Britain

LONDON (AP) -
A plane carrying Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport, Monday. Xi will be feted by the royal family and leading politicians during the trip, which Prime Minister David Cameron hopes will cement Britain’s place as China’s closest friend in the West.  (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
A plane carrying Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport, Monday. Xi will be feted by the royal family and leading politicians during the trip, which Prime Minister David Cameron hopes will cement Britain’s place as China’s closest friend in the West. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Chinese and British flags fly in front of Buckingham Palace on the Mall in London, Britain Monday.  (Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett)
Chinese and British flags fly in front of Buckingham Palace on the Mall in London, Britain Monday. (Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett)

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Britain Monday for a four-day state visit as part of a push to increase trade ties between the two countries.

Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan will spend several nights at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, after an elaborate formal welcome and a carriage ride to the palace Tuesday.

Prime Minister David Cameron told Chinese media that the visit heralds a “golden era” between the two countries.

“It’s a real opportunity to deepen our relationship and I’m delighted President Xi is spending so much time here,” Cameron said, adding that Chinese investment in major British infrastructure projects is generating jobs in Britain.

Protests over China’s human rights record are expected throughout Xi’s visit, which is scheduled to end Friday.

Meanwhile, The Obama administration said Monday that China’s currency remains undervalued in relation to the U.S. dollar but it did not cite the country for unfairly manipulating its currency to gain trade advantages.

In a new Treasury Department report, the administration noted that China sent global markets plunging in August with a surprise devaluation of the yuan. Since then, China’s currency, also known as the renminbi, has fallen 2.3 percent against the dollar.

Treasury said it will be important for China to allow its currency to again rise in value against the dollar when market forces dictate such a move.

The report, which Treasury is required by law to submit to Congress twice a year, did not charge any country with unfair currency manipulation. Such a designation could ultimately lead to trade sanctions.

Treasury’s latest report stood in contrast to the previous report in April and several before that in which the administration said it believed that China’s currency was “significantly undervalued.” In the new report, the administration softened its language to say that China’s currency “remains below its appropriate medium-term valuation.”