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British PM Urges More Political Freedom in China

British Prime Minister David Cameron during a question and answer session after he delivering his keynotes address at the Peking University in Beijing, 10 Nov 2010

British Prime Minister David Cameron has urged China to embrace political reforms as it evolves into a global economic power.

In a speech to students at Peking University Wednesday, Mr. Cameron said the rise in economic freedom in China has been hugely beneficial both to the nation and the world.

The British leader said he hopes this will lead to a "greater political opening" in China, because that is essential to preserve economic prosperity.

Mr. Cameron told the students that the British political process, where his Conservative Party shares power with left-leaning Liberal Democrats, "makes our government better and our country stronger."

Before his speech, Mr. Cameron met with Chinese President Hu Jintao at Beijing's Great Hall of the People. China's official Xinhua news agency says Mr. Hu told the British leader that cooperation between the two countries was stronger than competition, because their economies were compatible with each other.

Mr. Cameron is traveling in China with more than 40 British business leaders and four Cabinet members - the largest official delegation Britain has sent to China.

On Tuesday, British companies signed a number of trade deals with China. In the biggest deal, British engine maker Rolls-Royce won a $1.2 billion order from China Eastern Airlines for engines to power 16 Airbus A330 aircraft.

Mr. Cameron has said he wants to double the value of annual British trade with China to $100 billion in five years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.