A plateau region north-east of the Himalayas, Tibet was incorporated by China in 1950 and currently an autonomous region within China. The conflict between many Tibetans and Chinese government has been nonstop as many demand religious freedom and more human rights. In March, 2008, a series of protests turned into riots in different regions across Tibet. Rioters attacked Han ethnic inhabitants and burned their businesses, resulting dozens of death.
Hague seeks to calm the waters over Tibet
British Foreign Secretary William Hague told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi yesterday that "London recognises Tibet as part of China", Xinhua reported.
The phone conversation followed reports that British Prime Minister David Cameron abandoned a trip to China in April to meet the new administration under President Xi Jinping after Beijing expressed its displeasure at a meeting Cameron held with the Dalai Lama in May last year and said he was unlikely to be granted meetings with senior leaders.
Xinhua quoted Hague as saying "Britain does not support Tibet's independence" and that London "has fully realised the sensitivity of Tibet-related issues and is willing to handle them properly on the basis of respecting China's concerns".
Wang said respecting and taking care of each other's major concerns were preconditions for maintaining mutual political trust and developing ties, Xinhua reported.
It said the two men also discussed how to improve Sino-British relations, as well as other issues of mutual concern.
In April, French President Francois Hollande became the first foreign head of state to visit Beijing after the new leadership took over.
In May, Premier Li Keqiang skipped Britain on his maiden European trip.
Hague's conciliatory remarks may pave the way for Cameron to visit Beijing later this year.