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Vice-president hails queen's role in ties

Vice-President Wang Qishan visits the British embassy in Beijing on Monday to offer his condolences on the death of Queen Elizabeth II. [Photo/Xinhua]

Offering condolences at UK embassy, Wang Qishan speaks of her efforts

Vice-President Wang Qishan visited the British embassy in Beijing on Monday to offer his condolences on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, speaking highly of the queen's contribution to the ties of the two countries.

Wang stood in silent tribute in front of the queen's picture, signed the condolence book, and expressed sympathy to the British royal family, the government and the people on behalf of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government and the Chinese people.

The queen was a promoter and contributor to the development of relations between China and the United Kingdom, Wang said, recalling that she was the first British monarch to visit China, and had also received many Chinese leaders who visited the UK.

The queen visited China in October 1986. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level between the two countries.

The past development of bilateral ties shows that the ties will remain stable and smooth as long as the two countries stick to the principles of mutual respect and mutual benefit, Wang said.

Wang also expressed his hope that the UK will take the long and strategic view, strengthen dialogue and communication with China, promote bilateral cooperation that is mutually beneficial, and work with China to tackle challenges and make sure bilateral ties develop in a sound and stable manner.

Preparations for the funeral of the late queen have begun after her body was removed from Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she died last Thursday, and taken to Edinburgh.

Crowds lined the route of the royal procession, which went via the cities of Aberdeen and Dundee, on its way to the British monarch's official residence in Scotland, Holyroodhouse, where the queen's body lay overnight in the throne room.

On Monday, a service was held in the city's St Giles' Cathedral, where the queen's body would rest for 24 hours, allowing the people to pay their respects.

The body will lie in state for four days in the grand hall of the Palace of Westminster, the oldest part of the building that houses the British parliament, before the funeral is held on Sept 19 at Westminster Abbey. Westminster Abbey is where the queen married Prince Philip in 1947, and where she was crowned in 1953.

King Charles III was formally declared the new monarch on Saturday, although his coronation, when he will wear the crown for the first time, will not take place for some time.

People wanting to pay their final respects to the queen at the Houses of Parliament in London need to be prepared for a long wait and forget about trying to take a selfie with her coffin, according to guidelines the government has published. Thousands are expected to want to pay tribute to the only monarch that many in the United Kingdom have ever known.

The last member of the royal family whose body lay in state in the hall was the Queen Mother in 2002, when more than 200,000 mourners queued to see her coffin.

The British monarch is also the head of state, although largely in a ceremonial fashion, of 14 other territories outside the United Kingdom, including Australia and New Zealand.

New Zealand has announced it will mark the queen's death with a public holiday on Sept 26. The nation will also hold a state memorial service in the capital Wellington on the same day.

Acknowledging King Charles III as the country's new sovereign, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said he had "consistently demonstrated his deep care" for the nation. "This relationship is deeply valued by our people," she said. "I have no doubt it will deepen."



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