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Hague calls for closer ties between the UK and China

July 16, 2010

JUly 14, 2010

William Hague meeting Chinese Foreign Minister
Yang Jiechi in Beijing Mr Hague said he wanted
the two countries to be 'partners' in economic growth

The foreign secretary has told his Chinese
counterpart Yang Jiechi he wants to build a close
working relationship between the two countries.

Speaking on his first visit to China since
becoming foreign secretary, William Hague also
said the UK had concerns about human rights in Tibet.

With the Chinese economy growing at around 10%
per year, the UK is keen to increase exports to China.

Mr Hague said he saw the UK and China as "partners" in economic growth.

Speaking at a press conference with Mr Yang, the
foreign secretary said both the UK and China were
"beneficiaries of globalization and we have
shared interests in furthering this process".

Bilateral trade between China and the UK totalled
$39.1bn (£25.6bn) last year, although most of
this was Chinese exports coming to the UK.

Like all overseas companies, UK firms face limits
on selling their products in China, and any
operation based in China selling to Chinese
consumers must be part-owned by a Chinese business.

'Tibetan stability'

On the subject of Tibet, Mr Hague said London had
"long-standing human rights concerns".

"We want to see long-term stability for Tibet,
which in our view implies work on human rights and greater autonomy," he added.

Mr Yang said that while China and the UK had
different "social systems and cultural heritage",
opposing views on some issues would not have an
adverse impact on normal ties between the two nations.

"We believe that the common interests of the two
countries far outweigh the differences between the two sides," he said.

Mr Hague is due to meet Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao later on Wednesday, before travelling to Japan on Thursday.
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