Chinese FM to visit India for talks

Beijing/New Delhi: Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi will embark on a two-day visit to India from Wednesday during which he will hold talks with the Indian leadership over a host of bilateral and international issues.

Significantly, the visit comes in the backdrop of recent acrimony over Defence Minister A K Antony`s visit to Arunachal Pradesh to attend statehood celebrations. Asked if the issue will figure in his talks in India, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said his earlier comments that nothing should be done to "complicate" the border issue remain valid.

"… I want to point out that on the China, India boundary question including the disputed eastern section of the boundary, China`s position has been consistent and clear. "We hope to seek reasonable and acceptable plan through dialogue and negotiations pending final settlement. The two sides should make joint efforts to ensure peace and stability of border area instead of taking actions that complicate the issue," he said.

During his visit to New Delhi, Yang is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and hold talks with his Indian counterpart S M Krishna.

Announcing his visit, MEA in New Delhi said Yang "is visiting India as part of the mutually agreed mechanism of annual exchange of visits at the level of Foreign Ministers. Both Ministers will also hold discussions on the forthcoming BRICS Summit to be held in New Delhi on 28-29 March".

Antony`s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh was a centre of a heated exchange between the two countries, and only yesterday the Defence Minister reacted sharply to China`s objections, terming them "really objectionable".

Hong`s remarks in the aftermath of Antony`s visit stating that India should refrain from taking any action that could complicate the boundary dispute has evoked strong reactions from India.

Krishna said India has taken the remarks seriously and asserted that China has no right to make any adverse remarks about Antony`s visit.

China maintains Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet and claims sovereignty over it. Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to visit New Delhi to take part in the summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping, in what will most likely be his last visit to India as President as he is set to retire next year.

Officials here attached considerable significance to Yang`s visit as it is coming in the immediate backdrop of the recent "private" visit of Krishna to Beijing to inaugurate the new Indian embassy building.

Besides meeting Yang at that time, Krishna held talks with some of the key leaders including member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), during which a number of issues including the current unrest in Tibet figured. Some announcements were expected on the bilateral front, officials here said commenting on Yang`s visit.