PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

By Bridget O'Donnell, January 31, 2018

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United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has officially kicked off her three-day state visit to China, arriving in the Hubei capital of Wuhan earlier today. 

Prime Minister May was invited by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and it's her second state visit to the country. Previously, May had visited China for the 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou. Her trip comes just a few weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron's first visit to China.

May and her husband Philip were greeted at Wuhan Airport upon their arrival.

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

Britain's Ambassador to China Dame Barbara Woodward welcomed May and her accompanying delegation of around 50 business leaders earlier today.

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

May's first order of business during her visit was to deliver a speech at Wuhan University. According to the BBC, May plans to unveil an education deal that involves the extension of an existing math teacher exchange program into 2020, as well as the launch of a campaign to encourage English language learning in China.

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

Chinese celeb actress Maggie Jiang was also in attendance at the university event.

PHOTOS: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Arrives in China

During her trip, May will participate in the annual bilateral prime ministerial meeting with Li. May and her traveling delegation are also scheduled to make appearances in Beijing and Shanghai later this week as they meet with other Chinese leaders.

The state visit is scheduled to last until February 2. 

The visit comes at a testing time for the two countries. China is reportedly fuming that May has refused to endorse the Belt and Road initiative, and several experts tell The Guardian that Brexit has "severely eroded both its negotiating position and its value to Beijing.” 

China also appears to still be bitter over May's decision to delay a permit for a Chinese-funded power plant in the UK back in 2016, with a op-ed from state-run news agency Xinhua published today calling it "China-phobia."

The commentary piece also issued a warning to May, saying that "trust is hard earned and can be lost quite easily."

So much for that 'Golden Age' of Sino-UK relations...

[Images via China Daily, Xinhua]

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