Ahead of Wen visit, China plays down U.S. factor

In this file photo Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greets his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in Copenhagen.  

Ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India this week, China said its deepening relations with India were “a natural outcome” and it would continue to strengthen the engagement regardless of the state of New Delhi's ties with Washington.

“Our cooperation with India has nothing to do with the relations between the U.S. and India,” Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said at a briefing when asked whether China was concerned about New Delhi's close relations with Washington.

A number of commentaries in the Chinese official media during U.S. President Barack Obama's recent visit to India spoke of Beijing's anxieties about New Delhi appearing to move strategically closer to Washington. Many of China's neighbours, from Japan and South Korea to Vietnam have, in recent months, appeared to seek closer military alliances with the U.S., amid rising territorial tensions in the South China Sea, prompting some Chinese analysts to speak of a U.S.-led “encirclement.”

Mr. Wen will arrive in New Delhi on Wednesday on a six-day visit to India and then Pakistan, bringing the biggest ever trade delegation.

Asked whether China was pushing forward its ties with India to respond to American moves, Mr. Hu said: “Our relations with India are a natural outcome, and we have a bright prospect for future development. Both countries have more than one billion people, and relations between the two countries have nothing to do with relations between the U.S. and India… I believe bilateral and trilateral relations should be sound in interaction, and they should be mutually reinforcing.”

Mr. Wen's visit to India, he said, was “a big event” in the China-India relations. Beijing expected the visit to “enhance strategic mutual trust and build consensus.” Mr. Hu underscored the increasing convergence of the two countries' positions on multilateral issues in the past year, citing “sound coordination and communication on major international issues like the reform of institutions after the financial crisis, climate change and food security.”

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 1:08:02 PM |

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