Manmohan to visit China, stress on boundary talks
By Manish Chand
On Board Air India One, Jan 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday said he would go to China in the later half of this year and stressed on accelerating discussions to resolve the boundary dispute between Asia's two giant neighbours.
"I was invited to visit China both when Premier Wen Jiabao visited India (in 2005) and also when President Hu Jintao visited India (in November 2006). The invitation is there," the prime minister told reporters in a mid-air press conference while returning from the Philippines.
Manmohan Singh had gone to the Philippines to attend the India-Asean and East Asia Summits.
He held talks with Wen Sunday on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN summit.
"The Chinese premier reaffirmed the invitation and I have accepted to visit China in the later half of this year," he said.
"Meanwhile, our special representatives (on the border dispute issue) will be meeting in New Delhi this week," said the prime minister, referring to the two-day meet between National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo that begins Wednesday.
Referring to his interaction with Premier Wen, Manmohan Singh said he discussed all facets of the bilateral economic and strategic ties with the Chinese premier.
"Both PM Wen and I agreed that the boundary issue should move forward and the process of the discussion on the issue be accelerated in the light of parameters and guiding principles which we agreed to when he visited India in 2005," Manmohan Singh said.
The two leaders have directed their respective special representatives to act with "greater vigour and innovativeness" to resolve the four-decade old boundary dispute, he said.
Alluding to the proposal for a free trade agreement between India and China, the prime minister said that he and Wen agreed on an early completion of the study on trade between the two countries.
"We had discussed the 10-point strategy when President Hu Jintao visited India. We have affirmed to take forward the trade process to enhance the bilateral trade to $40 billion by 2010," he said.
The prime minister landed at Kolkata from where he will be flying to Guwahati Tuesday.