UK shifts diplomacy focus to the developing world

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 00:20

Hong Kong: Britain will shift its diplomatic
focus to developing countries like India and China as their
economies and influence grow, its foreign secretary said

Britain is pursuing stronger ties with Asian economic
powerhouses including China and India, renewing links with
Latin America and broadening its relationship with Persian
Gulf states, William Hague told a financial conference in the
country`s former colony of Hong Kong.

"As economic weight and political influence shifts to
many of the countries of the East and the South, British
diplomacy has to shift its weight accordingly," Hague said.

Britain`s center-right Conservative-led coalition
government took power less than a year ago and is trying to
lead the country on an economic recovery. One of the key tools
used to achieve that will be foreign policy and Hague said the
Foreign Office will move more officials into working on trade

Asia is an essential market for British business, Hague
said, pointing out that Japan and China are the world`s two
biggest markets for luxury goods, which are one of the UK`s
big industries.

China will be a "particular focus of our diplomatic
efforts," Hague said.

Both countries have a strong interest in making the most
of their trade and investment relationship, keeping their
markets open to each other and pushing to lower global free
trade barriers, he added.

Britain also hopes to step up cooperation with Asian
countries on climate change, preventing nuclear proliferation
in the Middle East and stemming international terrorism, he

Hague is heading to Australia and New Zealand in what
will be the first visit by a British foreign secretary to the
two countries in nearly 20 years.

Hague`s visit to this Chinese territory follows a visit
by Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang last week to Europe, where
he met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy
Prime Minister Nick Clegg.


First Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 00:20

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