U.K. Tibet Pledge Fostered China Deals, People’s Daily Says

A U.K. admission that it mishandled the issue of Tibet paved the way for economic and financial agreements this week, a People’s Daily commentary said.

The U.K. also pledged to respect China’s sovereignty, reviving relations that had been at a low ebb during the past year, the Communist Party’s official newspaper said in a commentary by Zhong Sheng. The name is a homonym in Chinese for “voice of China.” The British government said there’d been no change of policy.

China and Britain agreed during a visit by U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to establish direct trading between the yuan and the British pound, helping London in its race with Frankfurt and Paris to become Europe’s hub for trade in the Chinese currency. London financial institutions will be allowed to invest as much as 80 billion yuan ($13 billion) in Chinese domestic securities, Osborne said Oct. 15.

At a briefing after meeting Osborne that day, Vice Chinese Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said the relationship “has seen a turnaround” thanks to efforts from both sides.

“Without a sound foundation of political relations, economic and trade relations cannot have a solid footing,” Zhu said.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged in May that his 2012 meeting with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, had caused tension. China accuses the Nobel Peace Prize winner of waging a campaign for independence, while he says he is seeking autonomy for Tibet.

A spokesman for Cameron said today Britain has not changed its stance on Tibet to seal the deals announced during Osborne’s trip, which also include an agreement for Chinese companies to buy stakes in British nuclear power plants.

“Our position on Tibet is long-standing and there’s been no change,” Jean-Christophe Gray told reporters at a regular briefing in London. “We want strong commercial and diplomatic ties with China, We want to continue to strengthen those, and that’s at the heart of the visit to China that you’ve seen the chancellor making this week.”

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