China wants Britain’s Cameron to apologise for Dalai Lama meeting


TibetanReview: As UK’s Prime Minister Mr David Cameron expressed an intend to visit China this year, the latter has on May 7 demanded that he make amends for having met with the Dalai Lama during the latter’s visit to London in May last year.  "China hopes the British side will earnestly respect its concern on the Tibet-related issues and take concrete actions to create favorable conditions for bilateral relations to grow," China’s official Xinhua news agency May 7 quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as telling a regular press conference in Beijing.

Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg together met in London on May 14, 2012 with the Dalai Lama, the report noted.

Hua has said the China-UK relations were damaged by British leaders' meeting with the Dalai Lama last May, noting China's clear and firm position on the Tibet issue, and its unswerving determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. She was reported to have “reiterated the Chinese government's stern opposition to the secessionist activities of the Dalai Lama, as well foreign leaders' acceptance of meetings with him in any form.”

Although Hua did not elaborate on what concrete actions she wanted the UK government to take, it is understood to mean that the latter should tender an apology and also pledge not to meet with the Dalai Lama again.

Meanwhile, online.wsj.com May 7 cited a British government statement as saying Mr Cameron had not canceled any official visits to China. "Of course we engage with China on a huge range of issues, on some we agree, on others we disagree, but we strongly believe it is in the interests of both countries to manage our differences with respect, and cooperate as much as possible," the statement was quoted as saying.
The statement has also reiterated that the British government’s position on Tibet was longstanding and clear: that it regarded the Himalayan region as part of the People's Republic of China.

However, despite the diplomatic rift, British exports to China grew almost 40% to 10.5 billion pounds ($16.4 billion) last year from 2010 when Mr Cameron became prime minister, the report noted.
 
Mr Cameron had also met the Dalai Lama before he became prime minister in 2008 to discuss the situation in Tibet and Tibetan autonomy. All previous British prime ministers since John Major have also met the Dalai Lama. 

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