James Cleverley met with Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, in Beijing in August Photo: Xinhua/Yue Yuewei/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock < p>China really cares what Britain thinks, insisted James Cleverley, defending a flight to Beijing to meet officials earlier this year.
The Foreign Secretary said Britain had “influence” in Beijing and that “messages were landing” with officials.
Mr Cleverley told The Spectator's Chinese Whispers podcast live that he discussed the failed coup in Russia with his colleague Wang Yi and the risk of more “catastrophic” events. in the country about China.
“He listened very, very carefully when we discussed it,” he said. “Now his response was identical to the responses I had received from him previously, except that it was not, and these differences mean that these messages are hitting the target and we actually have an impact.”
He added: “It really upsets me that my colleagues say, 'Oh, the Chinese don't care what the British think.' They really do, otherwise I wouldn't have had a four-hour meeting (with them).”
He added that the Chinese government required him to use one of their cars during his visit in August, but he refused.
Speaking at a drinks reception on Sunday evening, Mr Cleverley said he would visit the Falkland Islands to assert British control over them after a “squabble” with the Argentine government.
< p>The UK government has been embroiled in a new dispute with Argentina since March, when Buenos Aires withdrew from a cooperation agreement with the UK and called for new talks between the two countries over the Falkland Islands.
The Foreign Secretary said, that he would make it “absolutely clear” that Britain supports the islands' right to self-determination.