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Scottish Independence: China Wants Britain To Remain 'United'

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Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in London after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Premier Li Keqiang who is on the second of a three day visit to the UK. | Stefan Rousseau/WPA-Rota

Chinese premier Li Keqiang has become the latest world leader to wade into the debate on Scottish independence, following high profile interventions from president Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Pope.

In what has been seen as a warning against the break-up of the UK, the Chinese leader said he wanted to see a "strong, prosperous and united United Kingdom". He was speaking during a press conference with David Cameron in Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon.

"I believe that the United Kingdom can stay at the forefront in leading the world's growth and development and also continue to play an important and even bigger role for regional stability and global peace," he said. But he added: "We certainly respect the choice you make."

Last month, also during a press conference with Cameron, Obama said the United States did not want to see Scotland become independent. "We obviously have a deep interest in making sure one of the closest allies that we will ever have remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner," he said.

And earlier this month Hillary Clinton, Obama's former secretary of state who is widely believed to preparing the ground for a run at the presidency in 2016, told BBC Newsnight that she would "hate" to see the UK break-up.

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond, who is leading the 'yes' campaign, has accused Cameron of "pleading with people internationally" to come out against independence for Scotland.

The pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign said recently: "David Cameron repeatedly states that the decision about Scotland’s future is for the people of Scotland but now we know that he secretly pleaded for help from America to bolster his anti-independence stance."

On Friday the Pope used an interview with a Spanish newspaper to warn about the dangers of division. His comments, in which he referenced Scotland, were interpreted by some as an intervention against independence for Edinburgh.

Scottish voters will decide whether to break away from the UK in a referendum on September 18th. The anti-independence campaign has long held a lead over the 'yes' campaign led by Salmond, however the polls have narrowed as the date moves nearer.

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