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Manila for closer ties with China, India

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will arrive here on Thursday from China as part of her efforts to forge closer trade and political relations with both countries. Accompanied by seven Cabinet Ministers, the President will sign several pacts seen as precursors to further engagements in areas such as combating terrorism and economic relations.

In China, Ms. Macapagal-Arroyo was given the honour of being asked by President Hu Jintao to open the 2007 World Special Olympics for the mentally disabled. The Philippines has reciprocated the gesture sending the biggest contingent for the games.

In India, she will call on her counterpart, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, while Vice-President Hamid Ansari and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will call on her. She will also hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday.

The two countries will sign a declaration in a framework of bilateral cooperation and an agreement on the establishment of a joint commission in bilateral cooperation.

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