China will not adopt a "dogmatic" stand on the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement and jeopardise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's planned visit to Beijing later this year, Chinese scholars said in Beijing on Sunday.
Commenting on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's earlier statement as well as Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's latest remarks on the Indo-US nuclear deal, former Chinese Ambassador to India and Myanmar, Cheng Ruisheng, said it clearly showed that Beijing would not adopt a "dogmatic" stance on the India-US nuclear issue.
"It is my personal view that China will adopt a flexible attitude," Cheng, also a member of the India-China Eminent Persons Group (EPG) told PTI.
Meeting with the EPG delegation in Beijing on Friday, Yang said that China is willing to "explore cooperation with all countries for the peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."
"Though it is a very general statement, it is a positive comment," Cheng said.
Earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that it was willing to undertake "creative thinking" on the Indo-US civilian nuclear issue, which Cheng said also indicated that China will be flexible on the topic when it comes up at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Cheng, who was Chinese Ambassador to India from 1991 to 1994, also said that Premier Wen Jiabao's recent positive comments on Sino-India relations and Singh's upcoming visit as well as the frank discussions at the sixth session of the EPG have created the right atmosphere for the high-level visit from India.
The Indian side was to the two-day sixth session of the EPG meeting was led by the former Ambassador to China, C V Ranganathan, while the Chinese delegation was headed by former Vice Foreign Minister, Liu Shuqing.
While no date has been announced for Singh's visit to China, active preparations are on for the high-level visit which is expected to take place towards the end of the year, diplomatic sources said.
"The visit to be paid to China by Prime Minister Singh within this year is an important diplomatic event in China-India relations. It is also a big event in the development of China-India relations," Wen said.
"We are now making vigorous preparations for the visit to ensure that the visit will be a success. Prime Minister Singh and I have said before that when the two of us shake hands, the eyes of the entire world are on us," the Chinese Premier said on August 27 in an interview.
However, the official Chinese media continues to be critical on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, causing concern among China-watchers here.
In a second salvo within a fortnight against the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, the Peoples Daily, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China, accused New Delhi of seeking "big power" status with Washington's backing, even stretching its "tentacles" outside Asia.
"The US-Indian nuclear agreement has strong symbolic significance for India in achieving its dream of a powerful nation," the paper said in a commentary on Thursday.
"In fact, the purpose of the United States to sign civilian nuclear energy cooperation agreement with India is to enclose India into its global partners' camp, so as to balance the forces of Asia. This fits in exactly with India's wishes," it
"Since India declared independence in 1947, it has always been determined to become a big power," it said.
The People's Daily also noted that India has been reaching out to the international community, especially in East Asia, traditionally considered China's backyard.
"In recent years, it introduced and implemented 'Look-East' policy and joined most regional organisations in the East Asian region. India also sought to stretch its tentacles outside Asia and even actively chased after strategic cooperation with some African countries."
"As a big country with rapid economic growth, India is keen on gaining greater influence in international affairs and playing a decisive role in the international arena. At this point, maybe it is not exaggerating to say that the India-US civilian nuclear energy agreement actually demonstrates its dream to become a big power," the commentary, second since August 17, said.
While some Chinese diplomats say the views expressed by the media do not necessarily reflect the stand of the government, China-watchers say it is difficult to believe that such prominent commentaries have been published without some official backing and vetting.