On Sunday 24 March 2019, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene welcomed the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan to Monaco. This visit follows a visit the Sovereign Prince made to China in September 2018.
In the Court of Honour of the Prince’s Palace, the Chinese and Monegasque national anthems, played by the Prince’s Carabinieri Orchestra, were performed before a ceremonial gun salute led by Colonel Tony Varo, Commander-in-Chief of the Force Publique, consisting of three sections of Carabineers and one section of Firefighters.
The Princely Couple and the Presidential Couple then shared a private moment in the Family Room of the Prince’s Palace before a presentation of formal gifts. The President then officially signed the Heads of State Register before posing for an official photo alongside the First Lady and the Princely couple.
The two Heads of State participated in a bilateral meeting in the presence of Chinese and Monegasque delegations. Together, they discussed economic and environmental issues.
In his preamble, HSH the Prince recalled the historical importance of this first visit to the Principality by a Chinese President, stating that the visit takes place during the Chinese Year of the Pig, which symbolizes luck and prosperity and which is also associated with renewal and the creation of successful relationships. In return, HE Xi Jinping thanked the Sovereign Prince for his warm welcome to the Principality, a country with charm, and transmitted the cordial greetings of 1.4 billion people.
The economic component of the visit concerned trade between the two countries, which has increased 70-fold since 1985, demonstrating concrete and effective cooperation in this area.
The two Heads of State then recalled the implementation of their respective actions for the environment. HSH the Prince congratulated the Chinese President for all the progress he is leading in this domain, especially in regard to new laws passed in 2012 and strict regulations requiring the consideration of environmental parameters beyond financial parameters for major projects in China. HE Xi Jinping recalled that his country supports the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The Sovereign Prince thanked the Chinese President for the authorization given on 18 March to open a representative office of the Prince Albert II Foundation in China. The Foundation is currently active in Asia, where it is pursuing a protection program for the Siberian Tiger with WWF China. It is also working with the China Environmental Protection Foundation to clean up the waters of Lake Tai.
HSH the Prince told HE Xi Jinping that he would participate in the COP15 Convention on Biological Diversity in Beijing in October 2020 and at the United Nations Climate Change Summit on 23 September 2019 in New York, during which China will lead the coalition on the theme ‘solutions based on nature’ (and which the Principality will also take part in a manner yet to be determined).
Prince Albert congratulated the President of China for holding the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in 2022 and recalled the unprecedented character of the city for holding both summer and winter Olympic Games only a few years apart.
At the conclusion of this bilateral meeting, the two Heads of State confirmed that relations between their countries are rooted in tradition and culture based on friendship and mutual trust. The Chinese President recalled that Monaco is on par with other states on the international scene: “despite the difference in size between our countries, the spirit of dialogue allows the success of our relations”. The Prince and the President agreed that this visit will bring the Principality and China into a new era of Chinese-Monegasque relations.
During the meetings, Princess Charlene and Mrs. Peng Liyuan attended a short recital given in the Hall of Guards by Chinese-Canadian violinist Zhang Zhang, also attended by Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella. The Princess and the First Lady then visited the Pallatine Chapel private gardens, guided by Thomas Fouilleron, Director at the Archives and Prince’s Palace Library.
A meal offered by the Prince and Princess to His Excellency XI Jinping, Mrs. Peng Liyuan and the Chinese and Monegasque delegations then took place in the Throne Room, in the presence of HRH the Princess of Hanover and Princess Stephanie.
To conclude the visit, the Serene Highnesses and their special guests went to the Salon Bleu, where they were welcomed by dancers from folk group ‘La Palladienne’ and students from the Charles III College of Monaco, who are studying Chinese and performed a short play in Mandarin called ‘On the way home’.
The Presidential Couple’s historic visit testifies to the strong ties of friendship that have united the People’s Republic of China and the Principality since 1995, when diplomatic relations between the two countries was first established.