Prince Charles will meet Xi Jinping during the latter’s state visit to the UK in October after years of snubbing Chinese leaders due to his stance on Tibet issues.
The Prince of Wales, who’s chummy with exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama, declined a banquet invitation when former Chinese President Jiang Zemin arrived to Britain for a state visit in 1999, in what’s been interpreted as a quiet protest against China’s treatment of Tibet. He was also M.I.A. during Hu Jintao’s visit in 2005.
UK media speculated that Charles may decide to blow off Xi during his visit in two month’s time. Local reports, however, confirmed he will meet the president this time around, a move that will be viewed as him taking on a more diplomatic approach.
The Sunday Times reports that Prince Charles, along with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, will receive Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan along with other senior government officials at the Horse Guards Parade.
He will also accompany the delegation to an arrival lunch at Buckingham Palace and receive the officials at Clarence House, the Times said, but will not likely attend a later banquet held for Xi at Buckingham Palace.
Charles, whose leaked journal entry describing Chinese leaders as “appalling old waxworks” caused a mighty scandal back in 2005, has never visited the mainland.
Documentation of Charles walking hand-in-hand with the Dalai Lama, who is viewed as a separatist threat by the Chinese government, has likely not helped ease tensions either.
However, he has attempted to repair damaged ties in recent years, according to Express.co.uk:
In 2006 he met visiting Chinese business leaders in London and in 2009 he set up his own charity office in China to work closely with Chinese organisations and met President Hu, who was in London for a G20 summit.
Xi received a handwritten invitation letter from the Queen of Britain when Prince William came to China in March.
[Images via Wikipedia]