Sole and venison were washed down with fine wines as a military band serenaded Mr Jiang with tunes from the Simon and Garfunkel songbook in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace where Queen Elizabeth talked of her fascination with China. At the official banquet in Mr Jiang's honour on Tuesday, the queen proposed a toast to the President by noting how the two countries were building a closer relationship. 'The handover of the former colony and its smooth transition to the status of Special Administrative Region of China exemplifies the trust and co-operation on which that relationship is based,' she said. British people had long admired Chinese civilisation, particularly its art and architecture, and were becoming increasingly interested in the mainland's ancient wisdom and philosophy, she said. She noted the growing popularity of Chinese restaurants in the UK and how the British had adopted China's passion for tea. The queen said both she and Mr Jiang were born in the Year of the Tiger, 1926, and quoted Confucius while avoiding touching on political issues. In return, President Jiang quoted from the English philosopher Francis Bacon, but took a slightly more strident tone. Mr Jiang said: 'One should not fail to see that there are still some disturbing, dangerous tendencies in the international situation. Regional and local conflicts have kept cropping up, acts of power politics and wilful encroachment on norms governing international relations are found from time to time.' China enjoyed political stability and economic growth and the whole population was working flat out to ensure modernisation, he said. Most of the 180 guests reflected the commercial importance attached to the visit, with business tycoons dotted around tables. Earlier, when gifts were exchanged, Mr Jiang's love of literature was rewarded with a specially bound facsimile edition of King Charles I's copy of the second folio of Shakespeare's plays, and a silver framed photograph of the queen and Prince Philip. The queen received a vase decorated by a Beijing craftsman.