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China clarifies it didn't snub PM

world Updated: Jul 17, 2008 19:50 IST

PTI
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China on Thursday rejected suggestions that it had snubbed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by not extending an invitation for the Olympics opening ceremony and said Indian leaders were welcome to the event.

Beijing also clarified that it is the national Olympic committee of the nation concerned which invites the head of a government or state.

"As the host of Beijing Olympics, China welcomes heads of states, including Indian leaders to attend the relevant activities (Olympic opening ceremony)," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular bi-weekly media briefing in Beijing.

He was responding to a query on reports in a section of the Indian press that China had invited UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to the opening ceremony of Olympics, while ignoring premier Singh.

"China attaches great importance to strategic partnership with India and exchanges with Indian leaders. The report is not in line with the fact and is not beneficial to our bilateral relations," he said.

He also said that the heads of states and governments have been invited to the Olympic Games.

"I would like to reiterate here that according to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) stipulation and the Olympic custom, heads of governments and states shall be invited by the Olympic Committees of their own countries and attend the Olympics as accredited distinguished guests. We respect the decision of the Olympic Committees" he said.