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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Britain recognizes the Tibet autonomous region as part of China, respects China's sovereignty and does not support "Tibetan independence", British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday.

Hague's words came as China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi had his first phone conversation with him, about one year after political relations between the two nations were affected by the Dalai Lama issue.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Hague said during the conversation that Britain attaches great importance to China-UK relations and hopes to further cooperate with China in various fields.

Fully aware of the sensitivity of Tibet-related issues, Hague said Britain will properly handle such issues on the basis of respecting China's concerns.

Hague also said that the UK welcomes China's prosperity and success, and wants to see it play a more important role in international affairs.

Wang said that mutual respect and care for each other's major concerns is the premise to maintain political mutual trust and develop bilateral relations.

"China and the UK have comprehensive common interests, and there is wide space for the development of bilateral relations," Wang said.

Wang stressed that China appreciates that the UK attaches importance to relations with China, and thinks positively of Britain's reiterated position that it recognizes Tibet as part of China and does not support "Tibetan independence".

Wang hopes the UK brings positive energy to further the development of relations with China.

Zhang Jianxiong, a researcher on European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Dalai Lama issue has often played the role of a "firm knot" in relations between some Western nations and China.

That is because some Western politicians have played the Dalai Lama card to court votes, while Beijing sees the issue as its "bottom line" on which it will by no means compromise, he said.

Zhang said Western politicians, after meeting the Dalai Lama, always want the quarrel to end early so as to ease relations with Beijing at an early date.

Now Britain has come to the stage, partially due to its stagnant economy, he said.

"And President Xi Jinping's visit to Germany as well as French President Francois Hollande's visit to China earlier this year have served as catalysts," he added.

Big deals were signed during both visits.

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