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William arrives for China visit

The Duke of Cambridge has arrived in China for a high-profile trip that will see him highlight the illegal wildlife trade, visit some of the nation's most famous sites and meet a rescued elephant.

William's commercial flight landed in Beijing early in the evening local time, after he had spent the day in Japan hearing the harrowing stories of survivors of the 2011 tsunami.

He toured a coastal area where thousands were killed and tens of thousands made homeless when the huge wage struck after being triggered by an earthquake.

The Duke's four-day trip to China will put a spotlight on the Prince of Wales's uneasy relationship with the country and raise questions about why he has yet to make an official visit to the republic.

The tour is the highest profile visit by a member of the Royal Family since the Queen's 1986 state visit and will be viewed as an attempt to improve diplomatic relations with the country.

Charles's dealings with China have been troubled in the past, particularly after he described its leaders as ''appalling old waxworks'' in a leaked diary.

The Duke was greeted at Beijing's airport by Britain's ambassador to China Barbara Woodward and Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the UK.

The trio met in private but were pictured walking through an airport terminal before the second-in-line to the throne was chauffeur-driven into Beijing.

Highlights of the trip will see William - who has campaigned strongly to end the illegal trade in ivory and other endangered animal products - travel to Yunnan province on Wednesday where 250 wild Asian elephants still roam free.

He will give a speech at a regional wildlife and conservation conference after seeing rescued elephants and learning how local communities live alongside the large animals.

Tomorrow the Duke will tour Beijing's famous Forbidden City before flying to Shanghai where he will launch the three-day Great Festival of Creativity at the city's Long Museum.

It will promote British commercial creativity and innovation to a high-profile business audience from the UK, China and beyond, to create opportunities for UK companies to break into one of the world's fastest growing markets.

William will also attend an event before the premiere of the Paddington movie in Shanghai, and is expected to meet the famous bear.

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