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LONDON: Visiting Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Monday told Britain that Beijing was opposed to continued military action in Libya which, instead of protecting civilians as envisaged in the U.N. resolution, had actually led to “led to loss of innocent civilian lives”.
“Foreign troops can win the war but not peace,'' he said addressing a joint press conference with his British counterpart David Cameron after holding talks as part of the annual U.K.-China Strategic Summit.
Calling for a political resolution, Mr. Wen said China had been in touch with both sides to bring them to the negotiating table. “That reflects our just position,'' he said pointing out that ultimately it should be left to the people of Libya to decide their future.
When a journalist asked him whether he thought NATO was in breach of the U.N. resolution, Mr. Wen suggested the question be put to the British Prime Minister first.
Mr. Cameron insisted that Britain and its NATO allies were working within the “ambit'' of the resolution and were committed to protecting civilian lives. Another issue on which the two sides remained apart was human rights with Mr. Wen urging Britain to stop lecturing China.
“On human rights, China and the U.K. should respect each other, respect the facts, treat each other as equals, engage in more co-operation than finger-pointing and resolve our differences through dialogue,” he said.
To a question, he said many of the misunderstandings about China were due to ignorance. “I don't think you have travelled to as many places in China as I've in Britain,'' he told the questioner.
The two countries signed business deals worth £1.4 billion and vowed to increase bilateral trade substantially in coming years.
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