PM Cameron hails Chinese nuclear power plant deal as ‘historic’

David-Cameron_3257650b

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister David Cameron says China's agreement to partly finance a U.K. nuclear power plant is a "historic" deal that will create thousands of British jobs.

President Xi Jinping signed an agreement Wednesday that will see China's state-owned power company take a $9.3 billion 35 percent share in a new plant to be built with France's EDF.

The plant has become a focus for critics of Britain's push to increase relations with China, the world's second-largest economy. Some accuse Cameron of wooing the Chinese for trade deals while ignoring the country's human rights record.

At a joint press conference with the Chinese leader at Downing St., Cameron said a strong economic relationship could go alongside some frank disagreements.

He said "the stronger the relationship between our countries, the more we'll be able to have a serious dialogue."

The plant in Somerset — set to be completed by 2025 — will be built by EDF, in conjunction with a consortium led by Chinese state-owned nuclear company CGN.

EDF sought outside investors after being unable to cover the cost of the deal alone. Britain's government is also offering a guarantee.

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