Chinese Premier meets Britain`s Queen, aims to repair ties

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 19:35

London: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met Queen Elizabeth II on the first full day of his official visit to the UK today which aimed to strengthen their trade ties and also repair the strained bilateral relations over Tibet.

It is the first UK visit by a Chinese Premier since a row in 2012 over Prime Minister David Cameron`s meeting with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

Li has said he hopes the trip will help "change mis perceptions and misgivings" about his country.
The UK has said it remains "deeply concerned" about human rights abuses in China.

Crowds gathered at Windsor Castle to watch Li`s arrival, with Chinese tourists among those who watched his entourage enter the grounds in a fleet of limousines.

The Queen was joined by the Duke of York in the White Drawing Room where the Chinese premier was accompanied by his wife, Cheng Hong.

Campaign group `Free Tibet` had written to the Queen calling on her not to meet Li.
The letter said their meeting "does not appear to be in the interests of the monarchy, the United Kingdom, or those resisting oppression across the world".

Li, who arrived in Britain yesterday, then went on to meet his British counterpart Cameron.
Li is the first Chinese premier to visit London since his predecessor Wen Jiabao`s trip in 2011.
Before Wen, President Hu Jintao visited UK in 2005 during which he had to face protests over China`s handling of Tibet.

The relations were further strained after the visit of the Dalai Lama to London in 2012 when British Prime Minister David Cameron met him drawing sharp reactions from China.

China characterises the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as a "political exile engaged in anti-China separatist activities in the name of religion."

Li, who has been accompanied by a large business delegation, is expected to formally agree commercial deals and investments worth up to 18 billion pounds in areas such as energy and finance.
Negotiations to end a Chinese ban on imports of British beef and lamb will be announced as the two leaders meet in Downing Street.

Restrictions were imposed by China in response to the Madcow disease outbreak in the 1980`s and 1990`s but it is expected that formal official-level talks will begin on opening up a market that could be worth up to 120 million pounds to the British economy.

The Chinese Premier is visiting the UK as part of his tour to European countries.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 19:35

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