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Hague smooths path for Cameron to visit Beijing PDF Print E-mail
[3 July 2013] David Cameron is set to visit China in the autumn, following a phone call between Foreign Secretary William Hague and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi which has apparently repaired relations between the two countries. Relations between the UK and China have been strained since David Cameron met with the Dalai Lama in May 2012.

David CameronAccording to the The Telegraph, David Cameron is now expected to make an official visit to Beijing in September. The news emerged following reports of a phone call between the UK and Chinese foreign ministers. In the phone call William Hague reiterated the UK's position on Tibet, which David Cameron had also re-stated in parliament on 8 May.

Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, said Hague "reiterated his country's respect for China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, reaffirming that London recognises Tibet as part of China". It added, "Hague stressed that Britain does not support Tibet's independence... [and] Britain has fully realised the sensitivity of Tibet-related issues and is willing to handle them properly on the basis of respecting China's concerns."

The Xinhua article concluded with a statement from Wang Yi saying China and Britain "should work together to guarantee a healthy and steady development of their relations".

Liu XiaomingThe Chinese Ambassdor to the UK, Liu Xiaoming (pictured right), writing in The Telegraph on 28 June, said the phone call between the Foreign Ministers was "a great moment". He added that he hopes "this phone call marks not only the beginning of the end, but also the start of a new chapter in our relations".

Despite these statements, there has actually been no change in the UK's policy regarding Tibet, and, as far as Tibet Society can ascertain, there has been no apology from the UK regarding Cameron's meeting with the Dalai Lama. In May, a Downing Street spokesman said, "We have made clear in advance to the Chinese government that British ministers will decide who they meet and when they meet them."

[Note: According to sources contacted by Tibet Society, David Cameron's trip to China is likely to be in September or October, though details have not been finalised.]

Read Tibet Society's blog for an opinion from Philippa Carrick, CEO of Tibet Society

Further reading: Xinhua (24 June) I Telegraph (27 June) I Telegraph (28 June)
Cameron: UK government "does not support Tibetan independence"
(9 May)
China seeks apology from UK; Clegg says UK must stand firm
(8 May)

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