Chinese foreign minister coming next week for talks

August 30th, 2008 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will be here next week to smoothen ruffled South Block feathers over Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda’s recent visit to Beijing and also to discuss how India-China ties can be further strengthened.China is not in competition with India over Nepal, diplomatic sources told IANS here Saturday.

Peace, stability and progress in Nepal are of interest to both China and India, they added.

This will perhaps be the message Yang will try to convey to the Indian leadership during his three-day visit from Sep 6.

Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known as Prachanda, broke from Nepal’s tradition when he chose China over India as his first prime ministerial visit abroad.

His visit left sections in the Indian establishment worried and its supporters in Nepal angry. The Nepalese government has since tried to play down the issue by arguing that too much was being read into the visit.

Prachanda, aware of the controversy his visit generated, promised to make India the first country of his political visit.

Though Prachanda had gone to China to attend the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics he also held talks with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior Chinese leaders on a wide range of issues.

Sections in the Indian and Nepalese capitals have raised doubts whether this was the beginning of a process aimed at marginalizing India’s role in Nepal.

The sources said Yang will try to assure the Indian leadership that China want to work in cooperation with India to ensure Nepal’s political and economic development.

Yang will also travel to Kolkata to inaugurate a Chinese consulate there. He will hold talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee and other senior members of the state’s ruling Left Front.

Over the next two days he will be in New Delhi to hold wide-ranging discussions with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee.

He is also likely to call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and opposition leader L.K. Advani.

A number of important Indian leaders including Manmohan Singh, Mukherjee, Gandhi and her son and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi have visited China this year.

The Congress party, which leads India’s ruling UPA coalition, has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Communist Party of China when Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi visited Beijing for the inaugural ceremony of the Olympic Games.

But not too many high-level visits have taken place from China to India in 2008.

Important developments in China, particularly the Beijing Olympics and the devastating earthquake that affected various parts of the country, had prevented most senior leaders from travelling abroad, the sources said.

Yang will be the highest political leader from China to visit India this year.

The entire gamut of the bilateral relations and other major developments at the regional and international level will come up for discussion between the two foreign ministers, the sources said.

India-China relations have improved significantly in the past few years and the two countries have been working closely on issues relating to climate change, energy security and WTO to evolve a common position that is beneficial to both.

Yang’s visit comes days ahead of the scheduled meeting of the Special Representatives of India and China in Beijing on the boundary issue.

It is likely that the boundary issue, particularly the commitment of the two countries to find an early a mutually acceptable resolution will be reaffirmed during the Chinese foreign minister’s talks with the Indian leadership, the sources said.

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