British PM to visit China before G20 summit

2nd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit China next week before the G20 summit, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, amid foreign pressure on Beijing to free jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Cameron will be in China on November 9 and 10, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

The visit -- Cameron's first to China since he was elected in May this year -- comes after ties between Beijing and London soured over issues such as climate change and human rights under Britain's previous Labour administration.

In December last year, then British climate change secretary Ed Miliband accused China of "hijacking" a summit on global warming in Copenhagen.

London was also furious at China's execution that same month of a Briton on drug smuggling charges -- a move that Beijing defended, saying it treated "criminals of all nationalities as equals".

The visit also comes after Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, angering Beijing and drawing calls from abroad for his immediate release.

British foreign secretary William Hague made a one-day stop in Beijing in July for talks with his counterpart Yang Jiechi and Premier Wen Jiabao, vowing to strengthen ties with China.

© 2010 AFP

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