Li`s visit to Britain to end China-UK diplomatic freeze

Ending a diplomatic freeze over Tibet-related issues, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will visit Britain next week during which a number of bilateral deals related to nuclear energy and finance are likely to be signed.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 13, 2014, 18:01 PM IST

Beijing: Ending a diplomatic freeze over Tibet-related issues, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will visit Britain next week during which a number of bilateral deals related to nuclear energy and finance are likely to be signed.

Li, who departs Beijing on Monday, will be 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 reduced diplomatic engagements with Britain after Cameron-Dalai meeting. China characterises the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as a "political exile engaged in anti-China separatist activities in the name of religion."

China`s foreign ministry had then said the meeting "seriously interfered with China`s internal affairs" and "hurt" Chinese feelings.

The two sides, however, warmed after Cameron`s visit to China scouting for investment to fire-up the cash-strapped British economy.

Li, the number two leader of China`s ruling Communist Party, will visit Britain and Greece from June 16 to 21, Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Yan told media here yesterday.

During his visit, the Chinese premier will meet Queen Elizabeth II, hold meetings with Cameron and other British leaders, he said.

Beside holding in-depth discussions on developing China-UK relations, the two sides will further boost cooperation in various fields, including nuclear power, high-speed rail, finance and high-end technology, Gao said.

During Cameron`s visit, the two sides had signed a pact for cooperation in areas of high-speed rail and civil nuclear energy.

Britain has already signed a landmark deal in October with a consortium including two Chinese state-owned nuclear firms to build?Britain`s first nuclear?plant in a generation.