Friday, Jun 13, 2003
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By P.S. Suryanarayana
Mr. Vajpayee was invited by the previous Prime Minister, Zhu Rongji. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Kong Quan, at a press conference in Beijing today said the anticipated talks between Mr. Vajpayee and the Chinese leaders would boost bilateral relations.
Mr. Kong indicated that Mr. Vajpayee's recent meeting with the Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Hu Jintao, in St. Petersburg had set the stage for the coming meeting.
Describing the St. Petersburg meeting between the two as "a very successful meeting'', Mr. Kong said, "they have pledged concerted efforts to promote the advancement of bilateral ties."
He noted that Mr. Vajpayee, too, spoke about undertaking a very important and fruitful visit to China.
Though the spokesman did not present a preview of the sheaf of bilateral agreements that may be signed on the occasion, Chinese diplomats and analysts expect Mr. Vajpayee's visit to be quite crucial for bilateral ties, regardless of whether it would in the end rank alongside the historic visit by Rajiv Gandhi in 1988 and P.V. Narasimha Rao's purposeful visit in 1993.
China felt "encouraged'' by the upward trajectory in the Sino-Indian interactions in recent years, the spokesman emphasised.
It was against this background that the two sides would now exchange views on regional and international issues so as to "reaffirm their respective stances on safeguarding regional peace, stability and development."
Mr. Kong said Beijing was glad that the relations between India and Pakistan had "gained momentum'' in recent times. China's "sincere hope'' was that "India and Pakistan will further improve their ties and ... . work for peace and development in the region."
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