China and the U.K. have a long history of international relations with around 400 years of diplomacy and trade between the two nations. But the relationship has not always run smoothly.
In the mid-19th century, China and then-powerful empire Britain fought two separate "Opium Wars" after the Chinese tried to stop Britain smuggling and selling the highly-addictive drug opium within the country.
When the Chinese lost to a more experienced British military they were forced to pay a fine to Britain, open up more ports to foreign trade as well as give the British control of the island of Hong Kong, starting a long history of trade and territorial links – a legacy that only ended when Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997.
Since then, relations between the U.K. and China have improved. Former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron led a trade mission to the world's second largest economy in 2015 and claimed that the visit had gained the U.K. trade and investment worth £40 billion ($52.4 billion).
In return, China's President Xi Jinping made a state visit to the U.K. last year that was hailed as a "defining moment" in Sino-U.K. relations. Displaying the best of British pomp and pageantry, the Brits treated China's top officials to a royal banquet at Buckingham Palace where Xi and his wife also stayed during their visit.