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Cameron snubbed by China for meeting Dalai Lama PDF Print E-mail
[29 April 2013] Prime Minister David Cameron has postponed an official trip to China after Beijing indicated that senior leaders were unlikely to meet him. It is believed that the Chinese government's snub was in retaliation for Cameron meeting the Dalai Lama in May 2012. The trip originally planned for April is now expected to take place in the autumn.

David CameronAccording to diplomatic sources contacted by The Guardian, Cameron's trip to China "was abandoned when it became clear that the Prime Minister would be denied the access usually granted to a leader of a member of the Group of Eight".

The British government claims that the trip was put on hold as China's new leaders only took office in March. However, this reasoning has been put in doubt given the full state reception for French President Franois Hollande last week.

Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Foreign Secretary who was in China last week, told the Guardian, "In the past, UK Prime Ministers have met with the Dalai Lama without the deterioration in relations with China that we are now seeing. For all of their initial boasts and bluster, the UK government has lacked a strategic or a joined-up approach to China since it came to office, and that's now showing."

Shi Yinhong, a foreign-relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing, told the South China Morning Post (based in Hong Kong) that the Chinese government was disappointed that Cameron had met the Dalai Lama "in disregard of Beijing's core interests".

The Dalai Lama and David CameronIn May 2012, David Cameron met the Dalai Lama at St Paul's Cathedral (pictured right) following a ceremony where the Dalai Lama received the Templeton Prize for expanding the vision of human purpose and spirituality. Despite the meeting being held in a spiritual capacity, China denounced the meeting saying that the meeting had "harmed" China-UK relations and had "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people". A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman called on the British government to "stop conniving and supporting Tibetan separatists.

Further reading: The Guardian I SCMP

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