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China, India PMs meet over recent tension
(Xinhua/China Daily)
Updated: 2009-10-24 13:48

China, India PMs meet over recent tension

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) meets with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Hua Hin, Thailand, on Oct. 24, 2009. Wen arrived here on Friday evening to attend the summit meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with its partners. [Xinhua]

HUA HIN, Thailand: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh here on Saturday to discuss bilateral ties and issues of common concern.

The meeting aimed to help quench recent disputes in bilateral relations, which "actually have no major divergence but are severely impacted by Indian media", a former Chinese ambassador to India said. 

"We have reached important consensus on promoting bilateral ties, and I believe that our two countries could maintain a good relationship in the future, which conforms with the interests of the two countries and I have confidence about that," Wen said at the beginning of the talks.

Singh, in his turn, recalled his recent meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Russia and the United States, noting that the Chinese people is a great nation.

"We share with the Chinese people their pride of success," he said.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of a series of summits related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the central Thai seaside resort.

The meeting came days before foreign ministers of both countries meet in India on Tuesday and a following return visit by the Indian top diplomat to China to prepare for a visit of Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the first such visit for an Indian head of state in nearly 10 years.

"The intense meetings are certainly related to our recent disputes," former Chinese ambassador to India Pei Yuanying told China Daily on Friday.

Border issues have tortured Beijing and New Delhi for decades. So far, 13 rounds of border talks have been held between the two.

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Last week, China expressed its "strong dissatisfaction" over Singh's visit to a disputed border region of so-called "Arunachal Pradesh" where he addressed an election rally. India has also allowed the Dalai Lama to visit the region next month, while Indian media have been clamoring over an alleged "Chinese invasion" after border incidents in recent months.

"Actually there're no big issues between the two neighbors," Pei said. "And from the low-profile way New Delhi is dealing with rumors raised by Indian media - ranging from the 'invasion' to 'China's plan' to construct a huge dam on the upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo river (called the Brahmaputra river in India) - we can tell that it's very eager to keep good relations with Beijing."

Singh dismissed the dam rumor this week; he said China is not conducting a project on the river.

Pei said the heaviest pressure from India on bilateral issues comes from Singh's recent comments that India should remain cautious about China's military expansion, which is related to domestic pressure.

China also does not want to see the rumors affect its ties with India and the meetings are good chances for the two sides to make that clear, Pei said.

The two countries have just signed a broad agreement this week to work together on climate change and underlined their shared position on contentious talks seeking a new global climate deal, a typical example of cooperation between the two large developing neighbors, he said.

To facilitate such cooperation, Chinese ambassador to New Delhi Zhang Yan this week called on Indian media to stop one-sided reports that have cast a shadow on mutual trust.