Wildlife will be the main theme of the Duke of Cambridge's address to state-run Chinese TV when the UK rolls out the red carpet to communist leader President XI Jinping on 20 October. The 62-year-old Chinese premier is expected to spend four days in Britain as part of his state visit, which will include a banquet hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Labour's radical new leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned that he will raise the issue of China's poor human rights record when he attends the get together, but the one party state's ambassador Liu Xiaoming claimed the veteran parliamentarian will not voice his concerns.
"You think the Labour Party will raise this issue at a state banquet? I don't think so," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show. "The president is here for cooperation, for partnership – he's not here for debate about human rights. We all know that China and the UK differ very much because we have a different history and culture."
But Prince William's contribution to the state visit will be apolitical. The second in line to the throne will raise the issue of the illegal ivory trade in a recorded speech for CCTV1, China's flagship broadcaster.
"The Duke is grateful to have this opportunity to explain how people around the world must work together to save some of the planet's most critically endangered species before they are lost forever," a Kensington Palace spokesperson told the Press Association. "He considers this issue an important test for his generation's ability to solve the much more complex global challenges it will face in the decades to come."
'Erodes the rule of law'
The prince travelled to China in March, when he met with President Xi Jinping and discussed the illegal ivory trade. The Duke, who is also president of United for Wildlife, warned that the trade "erodes the rule of law".
"It is appalling that elephants – and many others – may be extinct in the wild in our lifetimes, and that we seem to be hurtling towards that tragic outcome. The extinction of animals such as elephants, rhinos and pangolins would be an immeasurable loss to the whole of humanity," he said.
"The illegal wildlife trade is therefore our common enemy. It is a vicious form of criminality: plundering the natural resources of poorer countries, taking lives, hindering development and spreading corruption. It erodes the rule of law, fuels conflict, and may even fund terrorism. Traffickers think nothing of violating laws and sovereignty anywhere they can to exploit a loophole or turn a profit. And international cooperation is our strongest defence against them."
President XI Jinping's visit to the UK also comes after the Chancellor George Osborne's September trip to the red state. The top Conservative hoped to bolster trade, boost economic links and create a "golden relationship" with the nation.