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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Chinese media adopts a positive tone for summit

india Updated: Oct 11, 2019 23:25 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis

Beijing: Chinese official media, including a routinely strident tabloid, appeared to turn soft, mushy and hopeful on India-China ties as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping began the second edition of their “informal summit” in the southern Indian city of Mamallapuram on Friday.

Xi departed from Beijing for Chennai with 385 personnel on Friday morning, leaving a trail of mostly positive comment pieces and articles in state media outlets.

Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Committee, and foreign minister Wang Yi were among those who accompanied Xi.

The “West” got some stick as collateral for apparently trying to drive a wedge between old, civilisational neighbours India and China.

“The West tends to have the misinterpretation over the Asian century as it believes it would be a China-centred century. But late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping articulated long ago that no genuine Asian century would come without the development of China, India and other regional developing countries,” the tabloid Global Times said on Friday.

The Global Times routinely criticises India, and is known to mostly focus on India’s lack of infrastructure, poverty, and the divisions in its society.

“Some observers say Beijing and New Delhi ‘never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity’. This might be exaggerated but makes sense. Only when the two overcome their disagreements and start sincere collaboration can they send encouraging messages over the arrival of a real Asian century,” it said.

The headline was dramatic: “Asian century impossible without China-India cooperation.”

An editorial in the China Daily, Beijing’s flagship English newspaper, was more circumspect but positive.

“The belated official announcement of Xi’s visits to the country’s two South Asian neighbours [India and Nepal] only 48 hours ahead of the informal meeting, was proof that Beijing and New Delhi cherish the opportunity to improve bilateral ties through the personal chemistry between their top leaders,” the editorial said.

“That both Beijing and New Delhi announced the meeting will take place, squashed the earlier speculation that the two leaders would postpone any meeting and sent the reassuring message that they want nothing to get in the way of constructive engagement,” it said.

“Film, yoga, smartphone industries enhance China-India links,” said a report in the official news agency, Xinhua.

A report by China’s only English news channel, CGTN – part of national broadcaster CCTV – said Chinese and Indian companies signed over 120 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) ahead of the October 11-12 summit between Modi and Xi.

“More than 120 MoUs were signed on Thursday between the private sector of China and India for exports of several products including sugar, plastics chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fertilizers,” It said.

Over 60 Chinese entrepreneurs from 34 sectors will carry out trade promotion activities in India, the report said, adding that these businesses have formalised trade agreements with orders of around $100 million.

Announcing Xi’s departure from Beijing, state media announced that Xi’s entourage includes Ding Xuexiang, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee; Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee; State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi; and He Lifeng, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and head of the National Development and Reform Commission.

There was no mention of any military delegate in Xi’s entourage.

The Chennai meet is the second edition of the informal summit between Modi and Xi. The first was in the picturesque Chinese lake city of Wuhan in April 2018, months after a 73-day face-off between the armies of the two countries at Doklam.

First Published: Oct 11, 2019 23:25 IST

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