UK not ignoring China’s human rights record

22nd Oct 2015
UK not ignoring China’s human rights record

LONDON (AA): British prime minister has rejected claims U.K. is overlooking difficult issues with China for the sake of stronger trade ties.

Speaking on the second day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the U.K. on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron said that it was possible for the two leaders to discuss issues such as human rights while developing investment and growth at the same time.

The visit coincided with the closure of two steel factories in Britain, with the loss of 1,170 jobs. China was accused of putting pressure on British producers by selling its own steel products in the U.K. at unrealistically low prices in order to reduce its own stockpiles.

During the joint press conference with Xi, Cameron was asked what he would say to a steel worker who had lost his job while the Chinese president was being given a dazzling welcome.

He said a balance was possible. “I would completely reject the premise that either you can have an exchange with China about the issue of steel — or indeed about human rights — or you can have a strong relationship with China which is good for business, investment and growth.

“I want a strong and robust British steel industry, and we discussed the problem of global over-supply and China itself has plans to reduce that supply. But my argument, and my contention after five years of doing this job, is that you can have both. Indeed you must have both,” he said.

Cameron said that stronger economic ties created a stronger relationship, which allowed for “necessary and frank discussions” about issues such as steel or human rights.

The two leaders also confirmed the U.K.’s first nuclear power plant in 20 years.

China’s General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) will take a one-third stake in the planned 18 billion pound Hinkley Point nuclear plant in southwest England, controlled by France’s EDF.

State owned CGN will also take a two-thirds stake in the Bradwell nuclear plant east of London, where it plans to build a Chinese-designed reactor, and a one-fifth stake in a project for Areva-designed reactors at the Sizewell plant.

 
Author: Michael Sercan Daventry
Additional Reporting The Muslim News
[Photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping being greeted by Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street on 21 October 2015. Photogrpaher: Tolga Akmen/AA]

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