HONG KONG (AFP) — Former prime minister Tony Blair said on Monday that the world must pay attention to the rise of China and try to understand the Communist state in order to build alliances with it.
He said many countries had focused on fighting terrorism but that he believed they should also look at the huge recent growth of China.
"How to achieve partnership with China is as important as any other issues," he said during a dinner speech at the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.
"It's particularly important for us to understand what's happening in China. We should be sensitive... as to how it's developing," he added.
Blair said without China and the United States, the world's biggest polluters, there could be no proper agreement on climate change and that compromise was needed to reach an international deal.
Blair arrived in Hong Kong on a private jet Monday as part of his lecture circuit around China. He will give a luncheon speech for Merrill Lynch on Tuesday before heading to the mainland, a source said.
He is expected to visit the booming southern Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Dongguan before going to the capital of Beijing. It was not clear how long he will stay in the country.
Blair has been predicted to earn a lucrative income through speeches and books after he stepped down as British prime minister in June. He recently signed a deal to write his memoirs that was estimated at as much as five million pounds (10.4 million US dollars).
The Guardian newspaper said Blair was represented by the same US lawyer, Robert Barnett, who negotiated a multi-million-dollar deal for the memoirs of former US President Bill Clinton.
Clinton reportedly collected nearly 40 million dollars in speaking fees over the past six years.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »