China welcomes new British govt, calls for closer ties
China on Thursday extended its congratulations to new British Prime Minister David Cameron and pledged closer ties after rows over rights, climate change and Iran's nuclear drive.
"Premier Wen Jiabao has sent a message of congratulations to Prime Minister Cameron and they had a phone conversation last night extending China's congratulations," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters.
"The two sides agreed to make joint efforts for new progress in China-UK relations."
Cameron took office this week in a power-sharing government between his Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats -- ousting predecessor Gordon Brown's Labour party -- after a close election had produced a hung parliament.
Relations between Beijing and London soured last year when Ed Miliband, Britain's climate change secretary, accused China of "hijacking" the global climate change talks in Copenhagen.
Britain was also furious at China's execution in December of a Briton on drug smuggling charges and has supported more UN sanctions on Iran to curb its nuclear programme. China, a close ally of Tehran, has resisted sanctions.
The British and Chinese foreign ministers met in Beijing in March, pledging to put those disputes behind them, and Ma renewed that call.
"China values its relations with the UK," he said.
"We are ready to work with the UK to further deepen cooperation in various fields and promote sound and stable development of our comprehensive strategic partnership."
© 2010 AFP