His Majesty King Harald and Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway officially began their state visit to China on Thursday. Their Majesties were received in a welcome ceremony in the city of Dunhuang in the Gansu Province of Western China. The King and Queen were met at the airport with red carpets, flowers and representatives from the local authorities.
The town of Dunhuang is located between two deserts and was previously an important stopover on the old Silkroad.
Following a short stay in Dunhuang, the royal couple will then continue to Beijing. In Beijing, the Royals will have a conversation with President Xi Jinping and the signing of bilateral agreements. The state visit ends in Shanghai, where ‘sustainable seas’ will be an overall theme for the political meetings with industry, academia and other organisations. The royal couple will also visit United World College in Changshu, in Jiangsu province northwest of Shanghai.
The King and Queen left Norway to travel to China last week as a way to get used to the new time zone and have a small holiday before the extended state visit begins. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon is, therefore, proclaimed temporary monarch of Norway.
The Norwegian state visit is also very much mentioned in Chinese media. A representative for the Chinese Foreign said that China is looking at the trip as a significant opportunity that can help China and Norway to build a deeper relationship, mutual trust, and expand cooperation.
King Harald and Queen Sonja were last on a state visit to China in 1997, and the last time a Chinese president was on a state visit to Norway was in 1996. In 2008, King Harald and Queen Sonja were in China during the Olympic Games to support the Norwegian athletes.
Keep following Royal Central for the latest updates on the Norwegian state visit to China.