BEIJING, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday told Britain's Prince William he was looking forward to visiting the United Kingdom later this year at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II.
"I look forward to meeting British leaders during the visit to jointly plan out the future of China-UK relations," Xi told the prince after being handed the invitation by the prince during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People.
Xi said both China and the United Kingdom were influential countries in the world and that they shared common interests and responsibilities.
Hailing the development of the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership, Xi highlighted cooperation between the two countries in finance, nuclear power and high speed railways.
Xi said the trade volume had exceeded 80 billion U.S. dollars between the two countries and that the United Kingdom was a major destination for Chinese investment.
As China and the UK are important representatives of Eastern and Western civilizations, Xi said the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries would make contributions to the progress of global civilizations.
Xi asked Prince William to convey his cordial greetings and best wishes to the queen.
"The British royal family holds great influence, not just in the UK but across the world," Xi said.
The British royal family has shown great interest in and support for the China-UK relationship and has contributed to exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, Xi said, adding that the China looked forward to welcoming more members of the royal family to the country.
Prince William said he was ready to strengthen relations between the countries, and he was particularly interested in the younger generation.
The prince arrived in Beijing on Sunday evening for his first visit to China. The four day tour will also take the Duke of Cambridge to Shanghai and southwestern Yunnan Province., where he will attend a series of cultural and public welfare events.
During Monday's meeting, President Xi and Prince William, both soccer fans, also talked about sporting exchanges between the two countries.
They also exchanged views on wildlife protection. Xi briefed the prince on China's policy and efforts to protect elephants and other wild animals, adding that the Chinese side hoped for more international cooperation in the area.
Prince William said he appreciated China's work and that he hoped China would establish itself as a leader in wildlife protection.
Later in the morning, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao also met with Prince William at the Great Hall of the People.