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Edward Heath, old friend of China, dies at 89
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-19 05:59

Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, a long-standing friend of China, died of pneumonia on Sunday aged 89.

Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath and late Chairman Mao Zedong at a meeting in May 1974 in Beijing. FILE PHOTO
Heath paid a total of 26 visits to China over a period of 27 years, with the first being in 1974 when he met late Chinese leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Heath's visits to China in the 1970s helped improve relations between China and the West, and it was his government that established full diplomatic relations with China in 1972.

In the 1980s, his visits and numerous meetings with Deng also played a key role in the Sino-UK negotiations on China's resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Deng outlined the overall principles on how to solve the Hong Kong issue during talks with Heath in April 1982, giving vital impetus to tough negotiations between the two countries.

The basis of "one country, two systems," proposed by Deng, "is entirely new, and was created specifically to address Hong Kong's needs. I believe it can work successfully," Heath said at the time.
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