China said on Wednesday that it hopes Britain will take effective and practical steps to repair relations affected by British Prime Minister David Cameron's meeting with the Dalai Lama in May.
It is Britain instead of China that should assume complete responsibility for the damaged relations, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a regular news conference, responding to a question on whether China indefinitely suspended ministerial meetings with Britain to protest the so-called private meeting.
Lord Green, the Trade and Investment minister, and Jeremy Browne, the Foreign Office minister, saw planned meetings with Chinese ministers either cancelled or palmed off on junior officials last month, the Telegraph said on Tuesday.
Green, who was visiting China as the head of a trade mission, was reportedly unable to meet with the Ministry of Commerce or with the National Development and Reform Commission.
In addition, Wu Bangguo, who chairs the standing committee of the National People's Congress, China's legislature, called off a planned trip to Britain in May, and it is unclear whether Cameron can make a planned trip to Beijing at the end of the year, according to the Guardian.
"China has voiced strong indignation and stern objection to it. Despite China's repeated objection, the British side insisted on meeting with the Dalai Lama," said Liu, urging London to stop indulging the "Tibet independence" forces.
China demands that the British side seriously address China's stern stance, clear up the negative effects of the meeting and bring China-Britain relations back to the healthy track with effective and practical moves, he said.
The Telegraph quoted a British Foreign Office spokesman as saying: "This is disappointing as we believe that it damages both Chinese and British interests. We strongly believe it is in the interests of both countries to manage our differences sensibly and cooperate as much as possible."
The Dalai Lama is due to return to Britain on Thursday for a 10-day, pre-Olympic tour to various British cities, and how the trip unfolds could have a significant effect on Sino-British relations, sources in Beijing told the newspaper.
The Foreign Ministry said earlier that the meeting has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs, hurt the feelings of Chinese people and sent false signals to the "Tibet independence" forces led by the Dalai Lama — "a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China secessionist activities in the name of religion".
The ministry and the Chinese Embassy in London have both lodged solemn representations to the British side.