» Friday, May 7, 2004


The PMS informed journalists that the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, would be arriving in the UK on Sunday for his first visit here since taking up his appointment in March 2003. He would meet the Prime Minister for talks on Monday. There would be a Guard of Honour in the FCO Quadrangle on his arrival and a joint press conference in Downing Street. The Chinese Premier would also be meeting the Deputy Prime Minister, Jack Straw, Patricia Hewitt and Hilary Benn during his visit. Asked if this was a State Visit, the PMS said no, it was an official visit. The Chinese Premier would be a guest of the Government. Asked for how long he would be visiting the UK, the PMS said until Tuesday. It was part of a wider European trip. The two leaders had last met in July 2003 during the Prime Minister’s visit to China.

Asked if the Prime Minister would raise the issue of Chinese human rights abuses with the Premier during their meeting, the PMS said we had always acknowledged our differences. However, we had a mature relationship with the Chinese Government and were able to have a dialogue with them about this issue. She pointed out that China was already making progress in this area, such as the introduction of some legal reforms. Asked if the two leaders would discuss the position of Hong Kong, the PMS said that we remained committed to Hong Kong preserving its level of autonomy, stability and prosperity. Asked if the Chinese Government also remained committed to that, the PMS said that the issue of Hong Kong would no doubt be raised during the meeting on Monday.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. more unethical foreign policy from blair. wouldn’t it be hysterical if he got a talking down from the chinese pm like assad gave him in damascus! (oh yeah, wonder if any protests will be permitted

    Comment by DEGREEK — 9 May 2004 on 9:23 pm | Link
  2. I’m beginning to be shocked by public opinion that the best form of dialog with someone who is committing human rights offenses is no dialog at all.

    Given the day and age – and not only China’s benefits to our markets, but the success in the recent past of making positive changes in regimes throughout the world through dialog – I can’t see how people can argue that closing off dialog with China makes for good policy.

    Libya is the positive note that it is now solely because of open channels of communication where once the U.S. kept the door firmly closed; much of Africa would be impossible to talk to if we closed the door based on human rights violations, including human trafficking and genocide; and most importantly, many of the advances in communication with countries like Jordan have led to a level of transparency never before seen in these countries, and a level of dialog with the West that has led to a much greater understanding between peoples and nations.

    Closing the door is just plain old bad policy. What good has it done the U.S. with Fidel Castro and Cuba? What good would it do Zimbabwe? More importantly, what good would it do any of us?

    You don’t change something by leaving it alone, closing your eyes, and hoping they get better without your intervention; and you can’t improve a situation when the parties involved aren’t willing to change. You only get there through dialog.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 10 May 2004 on 12:11 am | Link

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