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PM to meet Chinese president in New York

September 06, 2005 18:31 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao in New York later this month on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly session to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral ties and review progress on talks to resolve the boundary question and other issues.

As part of high-level exchanges, Home Minister Shivraj Patil will pay a five-day visit to China from tomorrow for parleys on further intensifying the joint fight against international terrorism and enhancing cooperation between the police and security agencies of the two countries.

There was need to have 'closer cooperation' between the two countries to also deal with cross-border crimes, Chinese Ambassador Sun Yuxi said at a press conference in New Delhi Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Prime Minister's Special Representative and National Security Adviser M K Narayanan will also fly to Beijing later this month to meet his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo to carry forward dialogue on the political parametres and guiding principles to find a solution to the boundary question.

Sun said, "Tibet is no longer an issue between India and China." He said doors for negotiations with Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, have been kept open but made it clear that if he really wanted to play a role in Tibet, he should recognise both Tibet and Taiwan as integral parts of China. Asked when the Nathu La Pass would be opened for trade, he said this could be "sometime in the middle of next year".
Sun said experts from the two sides would meet very soon to discuss issues like connecting roads and setting up facilities relating to customs, immigration and related areas. While the Indian side wants this route to be opened this year, China has yet to complete about 40 to 50 km of road construction on its side.

Observing that the border has remained tranquil and peaceful for many years, he said "we should keep it that way". He said those guarding the border were celebrating each other's festivals together singing and dancing. Asked about India setting up its Consulate in Lhasa, Sun said New Delhi has not applied for permission.

He also hoped there would be more direct flights to Tibet. On whether Dalai Lama would be allowed to visit Tibet, Sun said he has to first recognise Tibet and Taiwan as an integral part of China. They were still engaged in separatist activities and this was not acceptable to China, he said. Sun said Dalai Lama's representative met a senior Chinese diplomat. "We know exactly their position," he said.

Asked whether China has any timeframe in mind to resolve the protracted boundary question, Sun said the next step in the discussions would be on actual border demarcation. This is expected to be taken up during the Dai-Narayanan talks. "We hope more positive results will emerge," he said. "We will continue to make progress" while addressing the boundary question, he said, adding "both sides are taking a very positive attitude and trying to speed up the process".
"There are no tensions today in our borders," he said. On the prospects of joint military exercises involving India, China and Russia, he noted that in some of these exercises, foreign observers have been invited. About the Tibet issue, he said "if we (China and Tibetan leaders) are talking to each other and understand each other, it is progress".

On whether Beijing has sought India's help in negotiating with Tibetan leaders to resolve the Tibet issue, Sun said China did not need any help from outsiders as this was an internal issue of China. He said India and China should put behind political issues and adopt a constructive approach towards resolving old issues. Describing border trade as very important in the development of bilateral ties, he said in the first year after this was opened, it was expected to be in the range of $50 million to $500 million.

Questioned about Chinese support to India's candidature for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, he said China wants to see India play an important role in UN including the Security Council. Both countries have similar or identical reforms, he said.

Sun contended that one of the main reasons for China's opposition to the G-4 resolution for expansion of the Security Council was because of Japan's presence in the grouping. China was not opposed to representation of developing countries including India in the Security Council, he contended.

"We are against Japan's inclusion in the Security Council". Japan, he said, was not qualified as yet to join the Security Council as a permanent member. He said even today there were extremist groups in Japan taking a very stubborn attitude and showing respect to war criminals.


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