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Pranab Mukherjee arrives in China

Boundary row and irritants surrounding it are expected to dominate the External Affairs Minister's talks with the Chinese leadership.
PTI | By Raghavendra, Beijing
UPDATED ON JUN 04, 2008 07:00 PM IST

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee arrived in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Wednesday, kick-starting his four-day visit to the Communist giant during which the boundary row and irritants surrounding it are expected to dominate his talks with the leadership in Beijing.

Mukherjee was received at the airport by India's Ambassador to China, Nirupama Rao, and senior Chinese officials.

On his maiden trip after becoming External Affairs Minister, Mukherjee is carrying a wide-ranging agenda from long-running border issue often dogged by irritants to trade and water to discuss with his counterpart Yang Jiechi, whose invitation brings him to China.

During the visit, the first high-level contact since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tour in January and the first by an India's External Affairs Minister since 2002, Mukherjee would also hold talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Mukherjee is at the booming capital city of Guangzhou in Guangdong province, about 120 kms northwest of Hong Kong, for the formal inauguration of the Consulate General of India. He will arrive in Beijing on Thursday.

The visit, which is aimed at building on the positive momentum in bilateral ties, comes amidst warmer relations between the two Asian giants and a thriving trade that went beyond expectations of both sides but the ties have also come under stress with reports of incursions and China's claims over Indian territory.

Mukherjee and Yang are expected to review the progress in the boundary talks between the Special Representatives who have conducted 11 rounds of negotiations on the basis of Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the settlement of the issue concluded in April 2005.

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