Promises to take up human rights issues without ‘hectoring’
The first day of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to China saw Rolls-Royce bagging a £750-million deal to supply Trent 700 engines to power 16 Airbus A330 planes operated by China Eastern Airlines.
Cameron is on a two-day visit to China to improve bilateral relations and engage in stronger economic ties.
In his television interviews, Cameron said he was in China with a bigger delegation than the one he brought to India when he visited the country in July. Cameron is accompanied by five of his cabinet colleagues and 50 representatives from business and academic community.
During his visit to India, a £700-million deal was signed between BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Cameron held talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and will meet President Hu Jintao tomorrow before travelling to South Korea for the G20 Summit.
Even though Cameron’s visit to China is primarily to shore up business for UK industries, he is also expected to take up two sensitive subjects with the Chinese leadership — human rights and environment issues. In an interview to BBC, Cameron said, “We have a really high-level dialogue with China on all sorts of issues, ranging from the economic and trade and business, and yes, of course, human rights, too. And that’s as it should be. Of course, we shouldn't be lecturing or hectoring, but it's right we have a dialogue about these things, and that's what our relationship does.”
Environmental issues are also expected to be high on the list of topics Cameron will take up with the Chinese leaders. It may be noted that 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities in the world are in China and the country is also one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas, nearly four times that of India on a per capita basis.
The visiting British delegation has also managed to sign an agreement for exporting British breeding pigs to China. The deal could generate up to £45 million over the next five years. Another agreement has also been put in place to ensure that only whisky produced in Scotland would be marketed as Scotch whisky in China.
According to a recent report by UK Trade & Investment, China was the sixth-largest investor in the UK, while India is the fourth-largest investor. In 2009-10, investments by Indian companies in the UK created nearly five times as many jobs as Chinese investments created.