British PM seeks to turn a page in relations with China

UK PM seeks to ‘turn a page’ in China ties

Sat, 30 Nov 2013 10:02:12 GMT

British Prime Minister David Cameron seeks to “turn a page” in relations with China, which were soured over his meeting with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, last year, Downing Street sources say.

Number 10 made it clear that the British premier has no plans to meet the Dalai Lama again during his upcoming four-day visit to China amid fears that it will damage Britain’s business interests.

“This visit is forward-looking. It is about the future and how we want to shift UK-China relations up a gear. We have turned a page on the Dalai Lama issue,” a Downing Street source said.

All ministerial contact was suspended by China after Cameron and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg privately met the Dalai Lama in London in May last year.

Following the meeting, the Chinese government demanded a public apology and called on Britain to take “concrete actions” to bring strained relations between the two countries back to the normal track.

Moreover, earlier in April, Cameron was forced to abandon a planned trip to China after he was refused meetings with the Asian country’s senior figures over the Dalai Lama row.

A truce, however, was declared in a phone call in June this year between British Foreign Secretary William Hague and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Cameron prepares to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, on a long-awaited visit to Beijing next week.

According to reports, he is taking a 100-strong business delegation with him to encourage Chinese investment in the UK’s infrastructure projects.

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