Press Trust of India
Beijing, 2 December
On a fence-mending visit to Beijing after his controversial meeting with the Dalai Lama, British Prime Minister David Cameron today inked “breakthroughs” agreements with China on nuclear power and high speed rail.
Mr Cameron also pledged to put his “full political weight” behind a proposed EU-China trade agreement.
“Some in Europe and elsewhere see the world changing and want to shut China off behind a bamboo curtain of trade barriers.
Britain wants to tear those barriers down,” Mr Cameron told reporters after arriving on a three day-visit with a high profile delegation of 100 business leaders and six cabinet ministers.
After talks with Mr Cameron, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the pair had agreed to “push for breakthroughs” on nuclear power and high speed rail.
Mr Li said the talks had been “highly productive”, adding that the UK and China had become “indispensable partners for each other’s development”.
“On infrastructure, the two sides have agreed to push for breakthroughs and progress in co-operation on our enterprises in nuclear power and high-speed railway,” he said.
Mr Cameron’s meeting with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in 2012 was condemned by Beijing and led to a diplomatic stand off with China minimising all contact with the UK.
But after today’s talks Britain has reaffirmed its respect for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, adherence to the one-China policy and respect for China’s core interests and major concerns, according to Mr Li.
The UK PM said: "I see China’s rise as an opportunity not just for the people of this country but for Britain and the world."
“Britain wants China to realise its dream and I believe we can help each other succeed in the global race. The Chinese side is willing to not only participate but also purchase equities and stocks in UK nuclear power projects, and the UK side is open to this idea,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Mr Cameron as saying.
Mr Cameron promised to “champion an EU-China trade deal with as much determination as I am championing the EU-US trade deal”.
"An open Britain is the ideal partner for an opening China… No country in the world is more open to Chinese investment than the UK.”
He believes the EU deal could be worth “tens of billions” of pounds a year – including 1.8 billion pounds for the UK alone.
Mr Li and Mr Cameron announced that they have agreed to a 200 million pound research fund aiming to foster scientific collaborations. More cooperation in traditional and new media is also on the cards to promote mutual understanding, Mr Li said. The two oversaw the signing of 10 agreements, including deals on space exploration, media exchanges and patent protection.
During the first day of his second trip to China as prime minister, Mr Cameron said, “No country in Europe is more open to Chinese investment than the United Kingdom.”
Britain has promised to simplify visa procedures for Chinese tourists and business travellers and increase the number of flights connecting the two countries, the Xinhua report said.
The meeting between Mr Li and Mr Cameron is the first since the new Chinese administration took office earlier this year and is held against the backdrop of the upcoming 10th anniversary of the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership. Mr Cameron will also met President Xi Jinping tonight.