External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's scheduled meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday has been called off after he had to rush to the earthquake-shattered southwest China, official sources said on Thursday
Mukherjee, who arrived on Wednesday on a four-day visit to China, will instead meet Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping. Since the deadliest quake in three decades struck on May 12 killing over 70,000 people, Wen has personally overseen rescue and relief operations in the disaster zone along with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Xi, who was appointed the Vice-President in March, is tipped to be the successor of Hu when he completes his second term in 2012.
Considering Xi's importance in China's political hierarchy and the future role that he is expected to play in the political set-up, Mukherjee's meeting with the vice-president is considered "good" by the Indian side. Xi, a former Shanghai boss of the Communist Party of China and son of a former vice-premier, was chosen by China's parliament in March as the vice-president, a position Hu held before his ascent to the presidency.