Chinese President Xi Jinping’s four-day visit to Britain this week, is putting Prime Minister David Cameron on the defensive. More than a few citizens accuse the prime minister of being too cozy to the Chinese president while the British Trades Union Congress said 5,200 British steelworkers face losing their jobs due to plant closing resulting from cheaper imports from places including from China.
Cameron said Monday he will talk to Xi about the issue of dumping steel on the international market. Cameron defended the visit in an email statement by saying it will bring more than 30 billion pounds ($46 billion) in deals and investment to Britain which will create 3,900 jobs in the United Kingdom in the creative, retail, energy, health and technology industries as well as in financial services, aerospace and education, the statement didn’t give further details.
Trade and investment between our two nations is growing and our people-to-people links are strong,” Cameron said in the statement. “This visit will be an opportunity to review all of these things but also talk about how the UK and China can work together on global issues such as climate change and tackling poverty. It’s a real opportunity to deepen our relationship.”
Xi addressed both houses of Parliament on Tuesday. He told the joint meeting that he is “impressed” by the “friendly” relations between China and the UK and that his state visit to Britain would take relations between the two countries to “new heights,” reported the Guardian.
The Chinese leader also said that both Britain and China were becoming increasingly independent, according to the Guardian. Xi made his address in Mandarin and shook hands with members of the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet, including Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The UK is striking an accommodative tone after Cameron’s May 2012 meeting with the Dalai Lama plunged the two countries into a two-year diplomatic freeze, reported Bloomberg, which added that China views the exiled Tibetan religious leader as a separatist and a symbol of Western efforts to weaken the country.
“David Cameron paid a very high price in Sino-British relations and it is highly unlikely that the UK will ever be vocal over these issues again,” Andres Rodriguez, a China historian at the University of Sydney told Bloomberg. “Only an American president, a respectable foe in the eyes of the Chinese, can really afford to meet with the Dalai Lama and get away with it.”