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The Latest: Urgent UK Parliament Session Held on China Steel

The Latest: Urgent UK Parliament Session Held on China Steel

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 10:01 AM

LONDON (AP) — The latest news of the first full day of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Britain. All times local:

1:20 p.m.

Minutes after Chinese President Xi Jinping was received with pomp and pageantry at Buckingham Palace, lawmakers questioned Britain's relations with China in an urgent parliamentary session called after new British steel job losses were blamed on cheap Chinese imports.

Opposition lawmaker Kevin Brennan questioned how the British government could secure the future of his country's steel industry in the face of China selling steel at a loss on world markets, including Britain.

Tata Steel announced Tuesday it was cutting 1,200 jobs in the U.K., blaming the layoffs on Chinese imports.

Trade associations want Prime Minister David Cameron to press the Chinese president on steel "dumping" and fears about further job losses.

12:40 p.m.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived at Buckingham Palace in style — in a gilded carriage drawn by white horses.

The royal coach drove up the wide thoroughfare of the Mall, which was lined with British and Chinese flags, and by hundreds of well-wishers and counter-protesters.

Demonstrators from human rights and pro-Tibet groups jostled with Xi well-wishers, who far outnumbered them and whose chants of "China! China" drowned out their rivals.

Talon Li, a Chinese finance student at Greenwich University, said he had arrived at 5:30 a.m. with some classmates to welcome Xi and support closer ties between the two countries.

"It's great," he said. "U.K. and China will really help each other. They should stay friends. Every British and Chinese person can be friends."

12:30 p.m.

Tata Steel has announced plans to cut 1,200 jobs in the U.K., underscoring the damage caused by cheap Chinese imports and throwing a shroud over the first day of a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping designed to usher in a "golden era" of relations between the two countries.

The announcement of layoffs in northeast England and Scotland flatly blames the job losses on a "flood of cheap imports, particularly from China," together with a strong pound and high electricity costs. Though the layoffs have been rumored for days, the timing of the announcement — coming on the first day of Xi's visit — seemed certain to win maximum attention.

12:20 p.m.

The Chinese state visit has opened with military pomp — a genre at which both Britain and China excel.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan have been greeted by Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip and dignitaries including Prime Minister David Cameron at Horse Guards parade-ground in central London. The Chinese leader was welcomed with a 41-gun artillery salute before inspecting an honor guard of troops from the Grenadier Guards in scarlet tunics and bearskin hats.

Later, the British monarch and her guests will take a carriage ride along the flag-lined Mall to Buckingham Palace, about a half-mile (1 kilometer) away.

Hundreds of people lined the route ahead of time, with pro-China demonstrators waving red flags outnumbering protesters from human rights and pro-Tibet groups.

11:25 a.m.

Supporters of Chinese President Xi Jinping are gathering in London for a gala arrival ceremony to mark the official start of his state visit.

Chinese and British flags lined the route where the procession will take place, with some dancing in the street with a dragon costume.

Others wore T-shirts with "I (Heart) China," with half of the heart filled in with part of the Chinese flag and the other half with part of the Union Jack, and small Chinese flags painted on their cheeks.

Xi is to receive a formal welcoming ceremony and a carriage ride to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday before he addresses both houses of Parliament. Xi will be a guest of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip.

His visit is expected to spark some protests by those who question closer ties to China because of its human rights record.

Xi is also expected to meet with Prince Charles Tuesday and to attend a palace banquet.

8:30 a.m.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will address Britain's Parliament on the first full day of a state visit including a ceremonial carriage ride and a dinner at Buckingham Palace.

The U.K. government has rejected accusations it is pandering to China to secure investment during a visit that is expected to lead to 30 billion pounds ($46 billion) in trade deals — including a key role in building nuclear power plants in Britain.

Besides longstanding concerns about human rights, Prime Minister David Cameron is under pressure to raise the issue of China selling steel at a loss on world markets. British steel companies are in crisis — with 1,200 layoffs expected Tuesday at Tata Steel — just weeks after 2,200 jobs were lost at SSI's plant in northeast England.

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The latest news of the first full day of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Britain. All times local:1:20 p.m.Minutes after Chinese President Xi Jinping was received with pomp and pageantry at Buckingham Palace, lawmakers questioned Britain's relations with China...
EU,Britain,China,The Latest
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2015-01-20
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 10:01 AM
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