Thursday 21 February 2013

Cabinet split over bullying by Beijing

Isabel Oakeshott and Jack Grimston Published: 17 February 2013
(Alexander F. Yuan) 
William Hague at a tense meeting with Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi (Alexander F. Yuan)
A CABINET split has emerged over deteriorating relations with China and a surge in cyberspying blamed on Beijing.
The prime minister and chancellor are anxious to avoid escalating tension with the People’s Republic amid fears that increasing hostility could damage trade relations.
But William Hague, the foreign secretary, insists Britain must not bow to “coercive” behaviour by the Chinese and is refusing to reduce diplomatic pressure over human rights abuses.
He is being backed by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, who believes Britain must take a principled stand on issues such as the treatment of the people of Tibet.

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