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At SCO meet, PM Modi, Xi Jinping may discuss trade issues

The two leaders will meet on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit to be held in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek during June 13-14.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2019 23:34 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis and Rezaul H Laskar
Sutirtho Patranobis and Rezaul H Laskar
New Delhi
PM Modi,Xi Jinping,shanghai summit
The two leaders will meet on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit to be held in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek during June 13-14(PTI)

The US-China trade war, the second India-China informal summit and New Delhi’s growing trade deficit are expected to be on the agenda when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time after his re-election in Kyrgyzstan this week.

The two leaders will meet on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit to be held in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek during June 13-14. Modi and Xi had met four times last year, and this will also be the first multilateral meeting attended by Modi in his second term as premier.

Xi is expected to make a pitch for India and China working together in the face of the protectionist trade policies of the US when he meets Modi, people familiar with developments in Beijing said on Monday.

Indian officials, who didn’t want to be named, said the Indian side was expecting this issue to be raised but would tread carefully as it didn’t want to create any impression of the two countries “ganging up against the US”.

Vice foreign minister Zhang Hanui told a news briefing in Beijing the China-US trade war and the “spectre of trade frictions” between the US and India could be an important part of the discussions in Bishkek.

“Whether they will talk about trade friction between China and the US and the spectre of trade frictions between the US and India, such things are not surprising. I believe this could become an important topic in his (Xi’s) bilateral meetings with the related leaders,” Zhang said.

“Trade protectionism and unilateralism are very much on the rise. How to respond to the bullying practices of the US, its practice of trade protectionism – this is an important question not only to China but also has a direct bearing on the recovery of the global economy,” he added.

Zhang said it would be helpful if Xi and Modi could exchange views on these issues and Beijing hopes “their communication will lead to an extensive consensus on upholding justice and opposing trade protectionism”.

People familiar with developments in New Delhi said China’s concerns about its trade war with the US had also figured at the last meeting between former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi at Bishkek on May 22.

“They will share their perspective at the upcoming meet in Bishkek and they are probably expecting to gauge our mind and how we intend to address this issue. We also expect to look at other issues, such as the second informal summit, exchange of visits, counter-terrorism, India’s trade deficit and other bilateral matters,” said one of the persons cited above.

India, the people said, doesn’t want to create an impression that some countries are “ganging up against the US”, the people said.

Zhang also said Xi and Modi are “good friends” and referred to the “very successful” first informal summit at Wuhan in 2018, when they provided “strategic guidance” for developing bilateral ties following the chill of the military standoff at Doklam. Modi and Xi are set to hold their second informal summit in India on October 11.

First Published: Jun 10, 2019 23:34 IST