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Chinese minister’s India visit next month to boost bilateral ties

China's vice foreign minister Kong Xuanyou will be in New Delhi on June 5. The minister is China's special representative on Korean peninsular affairs, and is also responsible for Asian affairs and boundary and ocean affairs, and is seen as one of the key players in the foreign ministry.

india Updated: May 25, 2018 00:03 IST
Rezaul H Laskar and Jayanth Jacob
Rezaul H Laskar and Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
China-India ties,Kong Xuanyou,Chinese minister visit
PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had committed to cooperating on counter terrorism in Wuhan.(PTI File Photo)

China's vice foreign minister Kong Xuanyou will arrive in New Delhi next month for a round of meetings with top Indian officials to advance bilateral ties, reflecting the desire of both sides to build on the momentum created by the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping, people familiar with the development said.

The visit by Kong, Beijing's point man for Asian and North Korean affairs, will be part of a series of high level visits from both sides aimed at implementing the decision by Modi and Xi at their summit in Wuhan to strengthen strategic communication through greater consultation on matters of common interest, the people said on condition of anonymity.

Kong, who will be in New Delhi on June 5, will meet foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale for discussions on a wide range of issues. The two sides are also expected to share notes on North Korea, an Indian official and a diplomat said. Kong is also expected to meet national security adviser Ajit Doval. Besides being China's special representative on Korean peninsular affairs, Kong is responsible for Asian affairs and boundary and ocean affairs, and is seen as one of the key players in the foreign ministry. He was closely involved in the Wuhan informal summit on April 27-28 and officials said Beijing's decision to send him to India so soon after that meeting reflected the importance attached to taking ties forward.

The two sides have also lined up more visits and meetings and are exploring the possibility of launching key initiatives to refurbish ties that were hit by the military stand-off in Doklam ,in the India-Bhutan-China trijunction last year. New Delhi and Beijing are looking at deepening their engagement on security and counter-terrorism and considering ways for law enforcement agencies to work together in a more cohesive manner on issues of mutual interest, another official said. In this regard, the two sides are working on dates for an early visit by Chinese minister of public security Zhao Kezhi.

“Deputy national security advisor Rajinder Khanna, who was in China for a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting, had a fruitful interaction with Zhao. We hope to host him here in a month or two,” said the official cited above.

During their talks in Wuhan, Modi and Xi had acknowledged the common threat posed by all forms of terrorism and committed themselves to cooperating on counter-terrorism. There are also plans for a visit to China by a team from India's commerce ministry although the dates are yet to be firmed up. This will be part of interactions focusing on trade ties that will also address India’s concerns about trade imbalance.

“The trade volume was an historic $84. 5 billion in the past year. The two sides are looking at ways to build on this," said the first official quoted in the story.

An Indian delegation of tea traders is expected to visit China in the coming months. During the first 10 months of 2017, China imported 6.4 million kg of black tea valued at ~115 crore from India. However, the Indian side believes exports can be increased substantially.

The two sides are also looking at a special arrangement to give a major boost to people-to- people contacts, especially in fields such as culture, education and films. “The two sides are discussing many ideas in this area. We will soon have a definite plan,” saidthe same person quoted above.

The Chinese side has also suggested that the two sides could divide all outstanding issues into two segments - short term issues that are less contentious and can be more easily addressed, and long term issues, such as the border dispute, that will require more effort.

The template for the interactions will aim to build on convergences even as New Delhi and Beijing hammer away at the more contentious issues. This, officials said, will be in line with the decision by Modi and Xi to strengthen the "Closer Development Partnership" in a mutually beneficial and sustainable manner and to enhance strategic communication to boost mutual understanding and contribute to regional and global stability.

First Published: May 25, 2018 00:02 IST