China denies ignoring Manmohan for Olympics opening ceremony (Lead)

July 18th, 2008 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
Beijing, July 17 (Xinhua) China Thursday rejected the report in a leading Indian daily that the Beijing Olympics Committee has snubbed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by not inviting him to the Game’s opening ceremony though it extended the invitation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. China clarified that according to the rules of the International Olympic Committee, it is the national Olympic committee of a country which decides who are the people to be invited for an event.

“We, as the host, respect the decisions made by the Olympic committees. We welcome leaders from all over the world, including India, to attend and participate in relevant events in the Olympic Games in Beijing,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a press briefing Thursday.

On Tuesday, a leading Indian newspaper reported that China invited India’s Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics slated for Aug 8, ignoring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government.

The news is “not a fact and not conducive” to the China-India relations, the spokesman said while dismissing the report.

“China places high importance” on the strategic partnership between the world’s two most populous nations and “pays great attention” to the contacts between leaders of the two countries, Liu added.

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