David Cameron Opens Sina Weibo Account to Repair China's 'Hurt Feelings'
United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and a retinue of more than 100 business representatives — the largest-ever British trade delegation to go to China — descended on Beijing Monday. Cameron met with Chinese premier Li Keqiang, discussing a multibillion-dollar free trade deal between China and the EU, as well as a separate one with just the UK that the British government says could generate up to £1.8 billion ($3 billion) per year for the economy.
Cameron is also in China to do some damage control. Relations between the two countries have been cool since Cameron met the Dalai Lama last May, prompting the Chinese foreign ministry to claim that he had “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” It didn’t hurt UK-China trade — British exports to China were 20% higher in the first three quarters of 2013 than in 2010 as a whole — but British officials think it could be boosted even more.
Thus, to assuage the hurt feelings of the Chinese, Cameron became one of the first leaders to open an account on Chinese social media site Sina Weibo, joining Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Cameron also penned an editorial in a Chinese financial-news publication, Caixin, that called for ”a partnership of growth and reform that would help the achievement of the Chinese dream as well as long-term prosperity for Britain.”
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