British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond was in China Wednesday for talks on security cooperation and a potential accord at Paris climate change talks in November.

The discussions in Beijing come ahead of a planned state visit to Britain by Chinese President Xi Jinping in the autumn.

Hammond was scheduled to deliver a speech and take questions from students at elite Peking University on Wednesday afternoon. He was to meet with Chinese senior foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi on Thursday and also visit an Airbus assembly plant in the nearby city of Tianjin.

"I look forward to meeting my Chinese counterparts to discuss our flourishing bilateral relationship and how our two countries can work with other countries to find international solutions to the world's big problems," Hammond said in a statement.

Britain has strongly endorsed the agreement between the United States, Iran and world powers to limit the Islamic Republic's nuclear program in exchange for an end to economic sanctions, despite heavy opposition from Israel and some in the U.S. Congress who say the restrictions don't go far enough. China has friendly relations with Iran and has pushed for a deal that would end sanctions.

London recently won Beijing's approval by agreeing to become a charter member of the Chinese-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, despite U.S. opposition.

However, China has also harshly criticized Britain over a 2012 meeting between Prime Minister David Cameron and exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, as well as Britain's questioning of Chinese policy in Hong Kong, a former British colony.

Top carbon polluter China has been praised by some for setting a target of capping its emissions before 2030.