People's Army general tackles military details

The head of the largest army on Earth, the two-million strong People's Liberation Army of China, is in Britain today on the first visit of its kind since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 soured relations between China and the West.

General Fu Quanyou, China's Chief of the General Staff, will this morning see Michael Portillo, the Secretary of State for Defence, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge. This afternoon he will visit the Foreign Office.

The Ministry of Defence yesterday refused to say why the general was visiting, but the timing of the visit and his conversations with Mr Portillo and Field Marshal Inge indicate he will be discussing the transfer of authority for the security of Hong Kong from the British armed forces to the PLA, exact details of which still have not been worked out, senior defence sources said last week.

The last-but-one round of talks in the Anglo-Chinese Joint Liaison Group (JLG), the diplomatic body handling Hong Kong's return to China, failed last week to agree arrangements for the advance stationing of Chinese troops in the colony.

Britain's chief negotiator, Hugh Davies, said the failure of three days of talks, the 39th round in 15-year-long negotiations, was especially "disappointing".

China also expressed regret at the lack of agreement. Hong Kong's China- backed Wen Wei Po newspaper reported on Saturday that defence matters were one key area of outstanding problems, along with Vietnamese asylum- seekers, of whom 6,000 are left in the colony, and the transfer of Hong Kong government files.

"We are now in the crucial stage of the process," Mr Davies said in a statement. "We need to close the remaining gaps."

The Chinese delegation blamed Britain for the lack of progress. "The Chinese side has made the greatest possible effort to accommodate the concerns of the British side, but the British side is still adopting disappointing delaying tactics and trying to establish linkage between unrelated issues," said China's ambassador to London, Zhao Jihua, who heads the Chinese delegation.

On an advance guard of Chinese troops, Mr Davies said the two sides had narrowed their differences but had been unable to reach agreement. "Britain has long taken the position that some advance parties are a good idea," he said. "The problems lie in the size of those parties and the timing of their arrival."

General Fu, who arrived in London on Saturday, begins a series of regional visits tomorrow, designed to acquaint him with British Army equipment and training.

Born in 1930, the general joined the PLA in 1946 and served as an infantry officer. He was commander of the Chengdu military region, facing India, which merged with the Kunming military region, facing Burma, Laos and Vietnam, in the mid-1980s. He became ageneral in 1993. He has been Chief of the General Staff since September 1995.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before