China-UK investment threatened by bad feeling over Dalai Lama

9 May 2013

A simmering diplomatic row between China and the UK over Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit with the Dalai Lama last year is jeopardising billions of pounds of investment in major British infrastructure projects, the UK’s Daily Telegraph has reported.

China spent almost £8 billion on British infrastructure projects in 2012, a five-fold increase over the previous year, but the country has threatened to turn off the investment tap until David Cameron apologises for meeting the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

What the newspaper called the "frosty relations" between the two countries could cause major projects such as the planned High Speed 2 rail network and the UK’s nuclear programme to be denied capital from China Investment Corporation (CIC), the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

The Dalai Lama with the UK’s Prince Charles in 2012. (Credit:

Quoting unnamed sources, the Telegraph said China has effectively barred David Cameron from visiting China until the UK apologises, and that the row lay behind the cancellation of the Prime Minister’s visit to China last autumn.

UK government sources denied the Prime Minister’s visit was called off for this reason, saying the visit had been cancelled early in 2012 because of the scheduled, once-a-decade change in China’s leadership planned for the same period.

But a source warned of "serious consequences" after the private meeting between the Dalai Lama, Mr Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg at St Paul’s Cathedral in May 2012, the Telegraph said.

The newspaper reported that in recent years both France and Germany issued statements designed to mollify China after their respective leaders met with the Dalai Lama.

"Any good business relationship relies on a good political relationship for the long-term," a source told the Telegraph.

See article here.

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