BEIJING: China’s vice president Wang Qishan will attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Beijing´s foreign ministry said Saturday, after a diplomatic spat saw Chinese officials barred from visiting the late monarch’s coffin.
“At the invitation of the UK government, President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative Vice President Wang Qishan will attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II to be held in London on September 19,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a statement.
The Queen will be honoured with Britain’s first state funeral in almost six decades on Monday. More than 2,000 guests are expected to attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
Wang’s attendance comes after an official Chinese delegation was banned from attending the Queen’s lying-in-state following an intervention by House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, according to parliamentary sources.
The snub followed China’s sanctioning of several British lawmakers over their criticism of its human rights record — and prompted a rebuke from Mao, who said at a press briefing on Friday that the UK “should uphold both diplomatic courtesy and gracious hospitality”.