China could take a major cash stake in the HS2 high speed rail project linking London with Birmingham and the north following an agreement between its political leaders and David Cameron.

Premier Li Keqiang said the two countries had agreed to “push for breakthroughs” on high speed rail and the UK’s nuclear power plans.

Mr Li said: “On infrastructure, the two sides have agreed to push for breakthroughs and progress in co-operation on our enterprises in nuclear power and high-speed railway.

“I believe our meeting will usher China/UK relationship onto a new stage,” said Mr Li.

“We need to grow this relationship at a higher speed. We can take this relationship to a higher stage at a faster pace.”

The Premier characterised the talks as “highly productive” and said that Britain and China had become “indispensible partners for each other’s development.”

Mr Cameron had already made it clear he was hopeful of securing investment in HS2 from Beijing, telling Chinese media: “I’m very interested in what’s happening in terms of high speed rail in China.

"It seems to be an absolute high speed revolution taking place... In terms of HS2, I very much welcome Chinese investment into British infrastructure.

“I see China’s rise as an opportunity not just for the people of this country but for Britain and the world,” said Mr Cameron.

Ahead of his talks with Mr Li, Mr Cameron visited a new training academy for technicians, salesmen and service staff for Jaguar Land Rover, who were signing a £4.5 billion agreement to provide 100,000 cars over the next year.