China state visit: Country's record on human rights and cyber attacks to be included in UK talks

'There’s nothing off the table in discussions with the Chinese'

Nigel Morris
Deputy Political Editor
Monday 19 October 2015 13:11 BST
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British Union flags and Chinese flags fly together on the Mall in central London, on October 18, 2015.
British Union flags and Chinese flags fly together on the Mall in central London, on October 18, 2015. (AFP)

Downing Street pledged that “nothing would be off the table” when David Cameron welcomes Chinese president Xi Jinping for a four-day visit to Britain amid accusations that ministers are playing down worries about the Beijing government.

The Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman insisted that China’s record on human rights and claims it initiated cyber attacks on other countries would be on the agenda during detailed talks this week.

She hit back following reports that western diplomats are dismayed that ministers are “kowtowing” to their visitors in order to clinch Chinese financing for plans to build nuclear power stations.


Face-to-face discussions will take place in Downing Street involving Mr Cameron and six Cabinet ministers

 Face-to-face discussions will take place in Downing Street involving Mr Cameron and six Cabinet ministers
 (PA)

The spokeswoman said Britain’s approach was to develop a “relationship based on constructive engagement” which enables minister to speak to their Chinese counterparts “frankly and with mutual respect”. If there was no relationship, Britain would not be able to raise issues of concern with the world’s second largest economy and fellow member of the UN security council, she said.

She added: “There’s nothing off the table in discussions with the Chinese.”

Face-to-face discussions will take place in Downing Street involving Mr Cameron and six Cabinet ministers. The two leaders will also meet for further discussion at the Prime Minister’s country residence at Chequers.

The spokeswoman said a full range of issues would be discussed, including human rights and cyber crime, as well as the state of the global economy. China has been accused of exacerbating the crisis in the British steel industry by dumping cheap steel on the world market.

Jack Ma, the founder of the company described as the Chinese answer to eBay, has joined a panel of business figures advising Mr Cameron. He will advise the Government on opportunities for British businesses in the far eastern economy.

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