News / Europe

Britain's Cameron 'Turns Page' on Dalai Lama Row with China Visit

British Prime Minister David Cameron, Nov. 28, 2013.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, Nov. 28, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Britain has put a diplomatic rift with China over the Dalai Lama behind it and Prime Minister David Cameron has no plans to meet Tibet's spiritual leader again, a senior source in his office said ahead of a visit by the British leader to Beijing.

Instead, Cameron will use a three-day visit to China next week, his first since the Dalai Lama rift, to focus on deepening trade ties with the world's second largest economy, taking with him a delegation of around 100 business people.

"This visit is forward looking. We have turned a page on that issue," said the source when asked whether Cameron would raise the issue of Tibet during his trip. "It's about shifting UK relations up a gear and looking to the future."

Foreign trips often pose a public relations problem for the British leader as he has to balance his policy of helping Britain win what he calls the global economic "race" with speaking out about any human rights concerns. It is a circle he has sometimes found hard to square and campaigners often accuse him of putting trade before rights.

Cameron, who is likely to visit Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, had been expected to travel to China last autumn. But he didn't go after China took offense at him holding a meeting with the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing deems a separatist. China summoned the British ambassador to protest at the time, saying the meeting had "seriously interfered with China's internal affairs", urging Britain to "correct the error".

Free Tibet, a group that campaigns against what it says are rights abuses in the autonomous Chinese region, released a poll on the eve of Cameron's visit showing that 58 percent of Britons thought he should raise the issue of Tibet with the Chinese.
"It's clear from this poll that only a handful of British people believe trade with China is more important than human rights in Tibet and that they expect Cameron to act like a statesman, not a salesman," Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren, the group's director, said in a statement.

Last month, George Osborne, Britain's finance minister, visited China with Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. Both men declined to discuss the Dalai Lama, focusing instead on what they said was the huge potential for enhanced economic ties. Osborne announced less stringent rules for Chinese banks operating in London in a push to make the British capital the main offshore hub for trading in China's currency and bonds. He also opened the door to Chinese investors taking majority stakes in future British nuclear plants.

The source said British exports to China had increased by 20percent in the first six months of this year, while inward investment by China was at its highest level in decades. The timing of Cameron's trip was good, the source said, because it came soon after China's communist leadership set new long-term policy priorities which included opening up the economy further. Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, is expected to travel with Cameron.

The business delegation is also expected to include Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline. The company was drawn into a bribery case in China earlier this year which resulted in police detaining four Chinese GSK executives. Peter Humphrey, a British man running a risk advisory group, was also detained and is still being held.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: david from: israel
December 06, 2013 5:20 PM
What a shameful show.......a bit of self respect and concern for human lives would have been in the long run more beneficial...Politicians is a disgusting brand of people....


by: Slawek Wojtowicz from: California
December 05, 2013 4:59 PM
So typical for confused politicians - money always comes ahead of ethics and human rights. Shame on you!


by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
December 01, 2013 3:52 PM
Good job CCP! Keep it! Wish China a prosperous future!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid