David Cameron hails Chinese investment in UK nuclear power station


David Cameron has defended his decision to do business with China, as he hailed the completion of a multibillion-pound deal for the far eastern giant to invest in a new nuclear power station in Somerset.

The Prime Minister has come under fire during President Xi Jinping's four-day state visit to the UK over the impact of the dumping of cheap Chinese steel on the British industry.

And he has faced questions over his decision to allow the communist state to take a stake in key elements of British national infrastructure, like power supply.

But speaking alongside Mr Xi following talks at 10 Downing Street, the PM insisted that the UK-China relationship was good for both countries, and that there was no need to choose between supporting British steelworkers and trading with China.

Meanwhile, Mr Xi defended his country's record on human rights, insisting that the People's Republic was following "a path of human rights development suited to China's national conditions".

French energy giant EDF announced it had signed an investment agreement with the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) to build the new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, where power generation will begin in 2025.

CGN will take a 33.5% share in the £18 billion plant, the first in what is expected to be a new generation of civil nuclear power plants in the UK.

Mr Cameron said there was no contradiction between forging closer relations with China and raising concerns about issues like steel and human rights.

" I totally reject the idea you either have a conversation about human rights and steel or you have a strong relationship with China," said the PM.

"I want both and we are delivering both and it's when you have that strong relationship that you are able to discuss all of these issues."

Mr Cameron said: "A strong relationship is in both our countries' interests not just because it brings investment and jobs and higher living standards for our peoples - vital though these things are.

"The more we trade together, the more we have a stake in each others' success and the more we understand each other, the more we can work together to confront the problems that face our world today.

"The stronger the relationship between our countries, the more we will be able to have a serious dialogue. We may not always agree, but we can discuss issues openly and constructively."