Europe

Chinese president visits Finland on stopover to USA

  • China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan are greeted during the official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Wednesday, April 5, 2017. (Martti Kainulainen/Lehtikuva via AP)

    China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan are greeted during the official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Wednesday, April 5, 2017. (Martti Kainulainen/Lehtikuva via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan are greeted during the official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Wednesday, April 5, 2017. (Martti Kainulainen/Lehtikuva via AP)

    China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan are greeted during the official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Wednesday, April 5, 2017. (Martti Kainulainen/Lehtikuva via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • China's President Xi Jinping looks on during a signing ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. The Chinese President is on a state visit to Finland until Thursday. (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP)

    China's President Xi Jinping looks on during a signing ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. The Chinese President is on a state visit to Finland until Thursday. (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a state visit to Finland, a stop-off en route to meet U.S. President Donald Trump.

Welcoming ceremonies for the second-ever visit to Finland by a Chinese leader were hosted Wednesday by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the presidential palace in downtown Helsinki.

Xi, accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan, noted on arrival that Finland opened political ties with China in 1950 and was the first Western country to sign a governmental bilateral trade agreement with Beijing. He also congratulated Finland on its centenary of independence from Russia.

During his two-day visit, XI will also meet Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila and Speaker of Parliament Maria Lohela.

On Thursday, Xi heads to Washington for meetings with U.S leaders.