HC Deb 13 July 1994 vol 246 c983
17. Mr. Mike O'Brien

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom's relationships with the Chinese Government.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

Relations with China have improved recently. On Hong Kong, we have reached agreement on defence lands and have made progress in our discussions on financing the new airport. Our trade figures show a 72 per cent. increase in direct exports to China last year and a 22 per cent. increase in the first quarter of this year. We also have an active dialogue on human rights and international and United Nations matters. The Minister of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad), will be visiting China from tomorrow.

Mr. O'Brien

What representations did the Government make to the Chinese Government after the underground nuclear test on 10 June, which was conducted in defiance of international opinion and in breach of an international moratorium? Can the Minister able assure the House that that second underground nuclear test in nine months met with firm representations from the Government and that difficult relations over Hong Kong did not prevent the Government from expressing concerns about real and important nuclear issues?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

Yes. We have expressed our disapproval of the continuing underground testing in China and I am glad that China has at least indicated its intention to participate in negotiations for a comprehensive test ban.

Mr. Waterson

Despite the public rhetoric of the Chinese Government, will my hon. Friend continue to keep the pressure on them to accept the democratic through train up to and beyond 1997?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

Yes. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State will doubtless be carrying those discussions forward during his forthcoming visit.

Mr. Gapes

When will the Government next have discussions on Bosnia in the United Nations Security Council? Will the Government be trying to work with the Chinese to veto any move by the United States to lift the arms embargo? In view of the remarks of the right hon. and learned Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg)—and of the Prime Minister yesterday, when he said that he was against the unilateral lifting of the arms embargo—may we have a categorical assurance that our Government will not give way to misguided pressure from the American Congress and President Clinton but will work with others to stop the lifting of the arms embargo?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made it known to the United States Government that any unilateral move of the sort suggested by the hon. Gentleman would be strongly deprecated.

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