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Border row on agenda for Wen's India visit
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-05 06:20

Special representatives from China and India will meet for the fifth time to discuss their long-running boundary dispute before the start of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the country, Indian Ambassador to China Nalin Surie has said.

Premier Wen Jiabao [newsphoto/file]
And the disputed border regions between China's Tibet and northern India will also be on the agenda during Wen's visit to New Delhi, on April 9 to 12, Surie added.

Wen started his eight-day tour of South Asia today, which will take him to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India.

In an interview with the China Daily, Ambassador Surie said: "The special representatives have met four times already, their efforts have progressed in a positive manner and we expect they will meet once again before Wen's visit."

In accordance with the provisions of the Declaration of Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Co-operation between India and China, which was signed in June 2003, both China and India have appointed special representatives to deal with the issue of boundary settlement.

China expects to make progress on the issue and "the two sides may reach a consensus during Premier Wen's visit," Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei told a Beijing news conference last Friday.

Former Chinese Ambassador to India Pei Yuanying said the border dispute is a historical hangover which will be difficult to solve.

In October 1962, the two countries fought a month long war over the disputed areas.

According to the former ambassador, China and India are negotiating principles to determine sovereignty and the two sides may sign an agreement about those principles during Wen's visit.

"There is an active trend in resolving the boundary issue now," he said, adding that high level exchanges and a willingness to talk showed bilateral ties were strengthening.

There are reports that Premier Wen said a solution to the boundary issue was possible if the two sides showed mutual accommodation "while taking reality into account."

Indian Ambassador to China Nalin Surie said he believes Premier Wen's forthcoming visit will provide a new milestone in bilateral relations, saying it will add to trust and understanding between the two countries.

India and China are both potential power houses of Asia and there will be areas of competition as well as co-operation between the two sides, Surie said.

"A certain amount of healthy competition is always good as it keeps us on our toes, but there is more than ample space in the world economy for both of us," he added.

Premier Wen told Pakistani media yesterday that China values its trade with Pakistan and regards it as an important area that should be expanded.

Talking in an interview with the Associated Press of Pakistan before his visit to Southern Asia, Wen said that, despite volatile international changes, China and Pakistan have established an "all-weather, all-around co-operative partnership."

Pakistani Ambassador to China Riaz Mohammad Khan said he intends to make the bilateral economic and cultural co-operation commensurate with the depth of the strong bilateral political relations.

"I also desire to see development in our tourism linkages and people to people contacts through greater cultural exchanges," he said.

Nihal Rodrigo, the Sri Lankan ambassador to China, heralded the commencing of direct flights between Beijing and Colombo, which will provide greater opportunities for travel between the two countries.

Bangladesh and China are expecting to sign a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding during Wen's visit.

"Among them, agreements on co-operation in agriculture and science and technology, as well as in combating crimes and smuggling will be foremost," said Ashfaqur Rahman, Bangladesh ambassador to China.

(China Daily 04/05/2005 page2)

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