(TibetanReview.net, Aug18, 2015) – Britain’s heir apparent Prince Charles, who has for decades kept away from visiting Chinese heads of state in protest against the latter’s atrocities in Tibet and human rights record, will meet with President Xi Jinping, his wife, Peng Liyuan, as well as officials during their upcoming state visit, reported thesundaytimes.co.uk Aug 16. The move is being interpreted as the Prince of Wales adopting a more diplomatic approach in dealing with the Chinese leadership.
The report said the prince will take a key role during Xi’s visit, joining the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to receive the Chinese delegation at Horse Guards Parade and possibly attending the arrival lunch at Buckingham Palace.
The report continued that he will also likely receive Chinese officials at Clarence House, his official residence. However, it added, he was not expected to attend the state banquet at Buckingham Palace to be held in honour of the Chinese president.
In Oct 1999, Prince Charles declined an invitation by Chinese President Jiang Zemin to a state banquet in honour of the Queen while on a state visit to the UK. His spokeswoman cited a “private engagement” for the prince’s inability to attend. Nevertheless, the UK media and others widely saw it as a snub for the visiting Chinese head of state. At that time too, Prince Charles did meet with President Jiang at a banquet given by the Queen to mark the start of the state visit.