China has reportedly suspended minister-level meetings with the United Kingdom in protest against Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
According to a diplomatic source, Lord Green, the Trade and Investment minister, and Jeremy Browne, the Foreign Office minister, saw planned meetings with Chinese ministers either cancelled or palmed off on junior officials.
"What has happened is that things that are normally handled at ministerial level being downgraded or cancelled," the Telegraph quoted the source, as saying.
Lord Green, who was visiting China as the head of a trade mission, was reportedly unable to meet with the ministry of commerce or with the powerful National Development and Reform Commission, which sets a course for the country's economy.
"In some cases the Chinese have said it was because of the (prime minister's)meeting with the Dalai Lama, at other times they said they were sorry but something had come up," the source said.
According to the paper, Wu Bangguo, China's most senior diplomat, also called off a planned trip to Britain in May.
It is also unclear whether Cameron will be able to make a planned trip to Beijing at the end of the year.
Cameron met 'privately' with the Dalai Lama in May when he visited to collect the $1.1 million Templeton prize, which he subsequently donated to Save the Children.