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This is interesting. Is the current economic situation a factor in this statement?|
Britain was the first goverment to recognize the new government of China in 1949, probably due to financial implications.
With the deep current economic climate it now issues a throwaway statement in the Houses of Parliament.
The Wall Street Journal
U.K. Policy Angers Tibet Ahead of Beijing Talks. NOVEMBER 1, 2008 By SHAI OSTER
BEIJING -- The Tibetan government-in-exile criticized Britain's move to more explicitly recognize China's sovereignty over Tibet, a dispute that could complicate talks between Beijing and representatives of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
The U.K. has long acknowledged Chinese control over Tibet, but its policy for nearly a century has stopped short of formally recognizing Tibet as part of Chinese territory -- a stance that bothers China's government. In a statement on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called that past British policy an "anachronism" and effectively abandoned it, saying that the U.K. does recognize Tibet as "part of the People's Republic of China."
The shift is largely symbolic, but some analysts say it could further weaken the position of the Tibetan exiles in ongoing talks with China. Britain's stance was unusual among foreign governments, and its rejection of that position could undercut Tibet's argument that it wasn't seen as part of China before Chinese troops occupied the territory in 1951.
A British official at the foreign office in London said on Friday that Mr. Miliband's statement represented only a clarification, and that the U.K.'s actual position hasn't changed. On Friday, Thubten Samphel, spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile based in Dharmsala, India, said: "Before 1950, we had many treaties with British India government in which Britain recognized Tibet as an independent country." For the U.K. to say now that it always saw Tibet as a part of China is "testifying to [a] falsehood," he said.
The Tibetan statement came as two high-level Tibetan emissaries arrived in China for five days of talks, starting the eighth round of negotiations since 2002 over the future of Tibet. The last round ended with an impasse in July, during heightened international pressure on China before the Beijing Olympics in August.
British officials said Mr. Miliband's statement was aimed at helping the negotiations.
The Dalai Lama has said repeatedly that he seeks not independence, but autonomy and the ability for Tibetans to worship freely and maintain their culture. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the British statement.