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UK calls for greater autonomy in Tibet

July 16, 2010

By Phurbu Thinley
Phayul
July 14, 2010

Dharamsala, July 14 -- Britain's visiting foreign
secretary called Wednesday for greater autonomy
and human rights in Tibet, media reports said.

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

Mr Hague, on a trip to strengthen bilateral
trade, made the remarks during a press conference
with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing.

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

The Chinese counterpart, according to AP, said
that their differences on the issue will not negatively affect ties.

"We believe that the common interests of the two
countries far outweigh the differences between
the two sides," Mr Yang was quoted as saying.

Chinese state media, however, made no mention of
any of the Tibet-related remarks made by Mr
Hague. In a brief report Chinese state-run Xinhua
news agency instead cited Hague as saying
"Britain recognized that Tibet and Taiwan were
inalienable parts of the Chinese territory."

Despite the strong trade, the relationship
between China and Britain has been troubled by
commercial disputes, rows over climate change and
China's execution late last year of a British
national convicted of drug trafficking, despite
repeated requests to halt the sentence from London.

Mr Hague met Premier Wen Jiabao later Wednesday.
He is scheduled to travel to Japan on Thursday,
where he was expected to meet top officials
including the prime minister and foreign minister, along with business leaders.

Britain's newly elected Prime Minister, Mr David
Cameron, in a recent message conveyed to the
Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in response to a
felicitation for his successful election victory,
said his government will "continue to urge the
Chinese to make progress towards meaningful autonomy for Tibet."

"We will continue to impress upon the Chinese the
importance of substantive dialogue with the
Tibetan representatives in good faith. This is
the only way to bring about a lasting and
peaceful solution to the problems in Tibet.

The Government considers that underlying issues
can only be resolved through meaningful dialogue
between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and the
Chinese authorities. Our interest is in long term
stability, which can only achieved through
respect for human rights and greater autonomy for
the Tibetans,” Mr Cameron said.
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