British PM to avoid meeting Dalai Lama

London, Oct 14 (IANS) Keen to strengthen his country's bilateral relations with China, British Prime Minister David Cameron is all set to avoid meeting Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama at least for the time being.

According to British Chancellor George Osborne, who is leading a five-member ministerial delegation to China, meant to pave the way for an official visit by Cameron, the prime minister has no further plans to meet the Dalai Lama.

Osborne made it clear Britain was determined to move on from a row with Beijing over contacts with Tibet's spiritual leader, The Guardian reported.

The chancellor told BBC Radio 4's Today programme from Beijing: "There is a bit of a British attitude which treats China as a sort of sweat shop on the Pearl river. One of the things I am trying to do this week in China is to change British attitudes to China.

"This is a country that is right at the forefront of medicine and hi-tech and computing and hi-tech engineering."

Cameron was forced to abandon a visit to China earlier this year after Beijing downgraded its relations with Britain after he met the Dalai Lama in May last year.

Osborne said the prime minister was unlikely to be meeting the Dalai Lama for some time.

"We have said the prime minister is not planning to meet the Dalai Lama," Osborne told Today. "But of course he did meet the Dalai Lama, as previous British prime ministers have."

"We understand we have different political systems and we raise the issues we have about that but we have an incredibly important economic relationship and I want to make sure this week we take the next big step in Britain and China's relations with each other so that we can create jobs and investment in each other's countries."

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