PM to visit China in October to attend Asia-Europe Meeting

September 9th, 2008 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Sept 9 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will go to China next month to attend the Asia-Europe Summit.Visiting Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechie reiterated Beijing’s invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the Asia-Europe Meeting, better known by its acronym ASEM, when he called on him Monday.

The Asia-Europe Meeting is likely to have heads of state or government from 30-odd countries from the two continents.

The Summit-level meeting is slated for Oct 25 and 26 in Beijing and will allow the leaders to discuss important developments and issues in the world and evolve a position that can help them in dealing with them in close cooperation.

A senior Indian official told IANS that the Prime Minister will attend the meeting.

The confirmation about Manmohan Singh’s participation at ASEM puts to rest speculations in certain sections here that he may boycott the meet to register New Delhi’s protest over China’s “negative role” at the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group meeting recently in Vienna.

Speaking at a function in the city Tuesday afternoon, Yang said: ” We want the Prime Minister to come for the meeting and look forward to the valuable contribution that he can make at the Summit.”

The Chinese foreign minister’s remarks on the visit and many other high-level exchanges between the two sides, including one by President Pratibha Patil to Beijing next year, indicated that attempts are being made not to allow the Vienna incident cloud the bilateral relationship.

A big symposium is also being organised by Beijing towards the end of the year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to China.

The 1988 visit by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is seen by a large number of people in the two countries as a historic journey that laid the groundwork for normalizing Sino-Indian relations.

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