Chinese vice premier starts Britain visit with energy deal

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang kicked off a business-focused state visit to Britain on Sunday with the sealing of a renewable energy deal between Scottish and Chinese companies.

Li, who is widely tipped to be China’s next premier, arrived in Edinburgh for a four-day trip aimed at boosting economic and political ties that will include talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

He praised progress in relations between China and Britain in recent years and urged closer ties in future, speaking at the Scottish capital’s airport, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

“Closer cooperation between China and Britain will not only benefit the two countries and peoples, but also contribute to world peace, stability and prosperity,” Li was quoted as saying.

The Scottish government said Li’s arrival coincided with the conclusion of a 10-million-dollar (7.7-million-euro) deal to use Scottish technology to build a plant in China that generates electricity from domestic refuse.

“This announcement is another positive step forward in strengthening Sino-Scottish links and confirming Scotland’s reputation as a global leader in the development of renewable energy,” First Minister Alex Salmond said.