A senior Chinese official has welcomed the UK's decision to recognise Beijing's direct rule over Tibet.
Zhu Weiqun, who is leading talks with Tibetan exiles, told the BBC the move had bought the UK "in line with the universal position in today's world".
But Mr Zhu would not say whether it might be linked with Prime Minister Gordon Brown's efforts to bring China into a new world economic order.
Beijing says Tibet has been part of the Chinese nation since the 13th Century.
Many Tibetans disagree, pointing out that the Himalayan region was an independent kingdom for many centuries, and that Chinese rule over Tibet has not been constant.
After a brief military conflict between China and Tibet in the early part of the 20th Century, Tibet declared itself an independent republic in 1912.
China sent troops to Tibet in 1950 and summoned a Tibetan delegation the following year to sign a treaty ceding sovereignty.