Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron (2nd R) plant an oak tree symbolizing the China-Britain friendship in Cameron's country retreat, Chequers, Britain, Oct. 22, 2015. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
LONDON, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- After a state banquet at Buckingham Palace and a welcome dinner at London's Guildhall, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday evening tried something less formal at a pub near British Prime Minister David Cameron's residence of Chequers.
With fish and chips and two pints of Greene King IPA, Cameron treated Xi to a very British night at the Plough at Cadsden, a 16th-century country inn located in the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire.
After a 20-minute stay in the pub, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, joined Cameron and his wife, Samantha, at Chequers for talks and dinner together.
The two leaders had more than four hours of in-depth discussions on governance, bilateral relations and global affairs at the countryside house.
During a stroll on the lawn with Cameron, Xi said his state visit to Britain has been a huge success with fruitful results, and he is fully confident that China-Britain relations will enter a "golden era."
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) holds talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, Oct. 21, 2015. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
"I have deeply felt the great importance attached by the British side and your earnest expectations about the development of our ties, as well as the friendly feelings of the British people towards the Chinese people," said the president.
Citing the multitude of agreements reached by the two countries, Xi said that they have not only lifted China-Britain ties to a new height, but also drawn a blueprint for deepening bilateral cooperation.
"China is willing to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries to realize common development and prosperity, and will strengthen cooperation with Britain in such fields as reform, innovation, rule of law and fighting corruption," he said.
Cameron, for his part, echoed Xi on the elevation of bilateral relations, calling it a "win-win decision" and urging both sides to implement the results of this visit.
Britain, he said, backs China in playing a bigger role in international institutions, supports the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the reform of the International Monetary Fund and the internationalization of RMB, and is willing to help promote China-EU relations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and British Prime Minister David Cameron meet media after their talks at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, Oct. 21, 2015. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
After having fish and chips in the pub and dinner at Chequers, Xi and Peng took a flight to Manchester for the final day of the state visit and another cultural highlight of the week, a visit to Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.
Chequers has been a private retreat of British prime ministers since 1921. The residence is located near Ellesborough, to the south of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, at the foot of the Chiltern Hills.
Xi is the first Chinese president to visit Chequers. By treating Xi at his country residence and the pub, Cameron displayed a private, family-style hospitality toward the Chinese leader.
Compared to their formal meeting at No. 10 Downing Street, the countryside retreat helps create a more relaxed atmosphere for discussions, during which the leaders can free themselves from diplomatic etiquette and exchange views as if they were at a friend's party, said Xu Xiujun, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Analysts believe that private interactions between leaders can help them better understand each other's train of thought and the situation in each other's country, thus making it easier to avoid misunderstandings.
The one-on-one talks between Xi and U.S. President Barack Obama at Sunnylands, California, in 2013 and at Yingtai, Beijing, in 2014 were seen as successful applications of "no-necktie diplomacy."
Chequers has hosted many state leaders and other dignitaries and witnessed many major historic moments. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, former U.S. President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were all treated there.