British Prime Minister Theresa May promised to hold "frank discussions" with China during a crucial trade visit later this week, with several awkward diplomatic issues like North Korea and Brexit expected to be discussed.
She leaves behind a divided government, a feuding Conservative Party - and a question mark over how long she will remain leader once she returns.
May wants to burnish the "golden era" between the countries announced by Xi during a state visit to Britain in 2015.
The UK has said it will prioritise negotiating free trade agreements with major trading partners such as the United States, Australia and Canada after it leaves the European Union in March 2019.
China expert Kerry Brown, of King's College London, says May's challenge is to "inject a little dynamism into the relationship".
Trade secretary Liam Fox will head a diverse delegation ranging from executives of large multinationals like HSBC HSBA.L and AstraZeneca AZN.L to smaller firms like Northern Irish seafood wholesaler Rooney Fish.
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, British Prime Minister Theresa May, second from left, receives bouquet of flowers upon arrival in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.
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In a statement ahead of the visit, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said Beijing saw Mrs May's trip as "an opportunity to achieve new development of the China-UK global comprehensive strategic partnership".
Issues likely to be discussed include North Korea and climate change. May's visit aims to step up not only the Golden Era progress, but a balanced development of China-Europe ties.
Woodward said that since 2010, Britain's exports to China had risen by 60 per cent, while two-way trade in 2017 grew 30 per cent year on year.
China also has high expectations that London will endorse its Belt and Road initiative, a massive infrastructure project aimed at reviving ancient Silk Road trade routes and creating greater market access for Chinese companies.
Philip made his global debut at the G20 summit in Hamburg previous year - to be taken on a "partners" tour alongside Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron.
China was expected to play a "huge role" in the economic development of the world, said the PM, adding: "I want that future to work for Britain, which is why, during my visit, I'll be deepening co-operation with China on key global and economic issues that are critical to our businesses, to our people, and to what the United Kingdom stands for".
The Prime Minister said the visit was part of an effort to "reach out around the world" to secure agreements which will boost jobs and prosperity in the UK.
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