The visit will be the first by Li since taking power in 2013, as well as the first by any Chinese leader in the last three years. Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told reporters Friday that the visit had a "unique significance" in "promoting political mutual trust, revving up partnership on growth, reform and cooperation, and advancing sound and steady bilateral relations on a higher level".
But the visit is perhaps most important to the U.K., which has a rocky relationship with the world's second-biggest economy, as it battles to become a center for Chinese foreign investment.
Although tensions have thawed since Cameron met with the Dalai Lama in 2012, despite Beijing's objections, relations became strained again this April when the U.K. Foreign Office published a report criticizing China's human rights record.
Li's visit will include extensive talks with Cameron and other senior politicians. He and his wife will also meet the Queen—an encounter which is reported to have been a condition of Li coming.
Topics up for discussion are likely to include visa provisions for Chinese tourists and business people. Last week, Liu called on the U.K. to ease visa applications for Chinese visitors, saying difficulties in entering the country were deterring investors.
However, the U.K. government says that 96 percent of Chinese nationals who applied for a U.K. visa received one in 2013. Of 373,475 U.K. visas issued last year, 291,919 were to Chinese.
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The Premier's visit comes after a deal was struck in March to set up a renminbi clearing bank—one that can process yuan-denominated checks for clients, regardless of the origin of the check—in London. This would be the first outside of Asia and would mean that the U.K. no longer needs to rely on Hong Kong establishments for renminbi clearing services.
The U.K. was also the first G-7 country to establish a foreign exchange swap line—an agreement to exchange one currency for another at a set rate at a certain time in the future — with the People's Bank of China.
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However, ahead of his visit, Liu warned that some Chinese people now regarded relations with France and Germany as more important than with Britain.