UK is not for 'Tibetan independence'

Updated: 2013-06-25 02:42

By Zhang Chunyan in London and Li Xiaokun in Beijing (China Daily)

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Zhao Junjie, another expert on European studies at the CASS, said both German chancellor Angela Merkel and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy used to play the Dalai Lama card but finally turned to mending relations with Beijing.

"And Merkel even developed very good personal relations with former premier Wen Jiabao in the process. I think that would be a good case for London to look at when it thinks over the prospect of its relations with Beijing."

The episode in China-UK ties in the past year exposed a lack of political trust, despite their thriving business ties and growing communication mechanisms, he added.

In 2012, China-UK trade in goods topped $60 billion for the first time. Last year Britain was the only EU member that enjoyed growth in both exports to and imports from China.

Chinese investment in the UK surged to more than $8 billion in 2012. This is more than the total Chinese investment in Britain from 2009 to 2011.

Great advancements were also made in China-UK cooperation in infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, creative industry, research and development and offshore RMB business.

Last week, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group said it would spend $1.6 billion to buy British yacht maker Sunseeker and develop an upmarket London hotel.

Zhao said the calm way China handled the diplomatic disturbance also reflected that Beijing's foreign policies are getting more mature.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg met the Dalai Lama last year. China is firmly opposed to foreign leaders' meeting with the Dalai Lama in any form as well as foreign countries intervening in China's internal affairs under any pretext.

One can argue that bilateral relationships should not be held to ransom by any single issue, but given earlier precedents from France and Germany, the Chinese response should have been expected, said Tim Summers, senior consulting fellow of the Chatham House Asia Program in his comment on the think tank's website in May.

"The UK government needs to work positively to move beyond this spat," Summers added.

"It needs compromise and respect on both sides, including over sensitive issues."


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