Updated: October 10, 2019 11:22:48 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled second informal meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mahabalipuram for October 11 and 12 has been widely reported in Chinese media. This is the first positive sign in the relationship between the two countries amid a series of strong statements and steps by China that have adversely impacted the bilateral space before the informal summit.
On Saturday, India had lodged a “strong protest” with China through diplomatic channels over comments made by the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan on Kashmir, and “sought clarification” on what was seen as a departure from Beijing’s stated position on Jammu and Kashmir. India said it is “not for other countries to comment” on its internal affairs.
Beijing’s envoy has said that the two countries, during the summit, should unleash the “positive effect of Wuhan informal summit” as they look ahead.
What Chinese media reported on Modi-Xi’s scheduled meeting in Mahabalipuram:
“Since the first informal meeting between Xi and Modi in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last year, China-India relations have entered a new stage of steady growth, with cooperation and exchanges being carried out in various fields and differences being properly managed,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui was quoted as saying in an article titled “Xi’s visit to India, Nepal to cement neighborhood bonds, cooperation”.
China-India cooperation will not only benefit the development of the two countries, but also help promote world multipolarization and economic globalization, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries, he added.
South China Morning Post
Referring to the tension between India and Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir, a report titled ‘China extends hand to Pakistan while reaching out to India’ said, “Despite the strong backing for Pakistan, Xi will be on a mission to mend fences with India when he meets Modi in the coastal town of Mamallapuram near Chennai on October 11-12 before going to Nepal for a state visit on Sunday.” The report was published after the Chinese President held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan this morning.
Another article named Modi-Xi bonhomie to be tested by ‘irritants’, but global pressures may yet prompt tighter embrace’ read, “A shroud of ‘irritants’ threatens to engulf the meeting. In the last week a string of diplomatic disputes has emerged between the two countries, and with just four days to go, neither nation had yet been willing to formally announce the summit as of Monday night, though the Indian government did begin registration procedures for local journalists.”
Besides Kashmir, the article made references to the Indian Air Force’s plan to spruce up a disused airstrip in Arunachal Pradesh and the shifting of Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti celebrations from Chaoyang park to the Indian embassy in China and discussed “speculation of fresh problems that could be creasing up the foreheads of Indian and Chinese officials”.
“The bonhomie between Modi and Xi that emanated from their meeting last year led many to hail a so-called ‘Wuhan spirit’, which they claimed was symbolic of a new direction in ties. But with the mysterious silence regarding the announcement of this year’s summit continuing as of Monday night, the ‘Wuhan spirit’ may not be enough to make progress.”
A separate opinion piece titled ‘The awkward elephant in the room when Xi and Modi meet’ said that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is an “intractable obstacle” in the relations between the two countries. “The plan remains a thorny issue in relations,” it read.
In Chennai, Xi and Modi, without having set a formal agenda, will have discussions in an easy, comfortable atmosphere, Luo said, according to a report in People’s Daily. The summit is meant to promote practical cooperation between the two countries and create a long-lasting influence on global and regional peace and stability, he added.
On the recent announcement of the meeting of the two leaders, an editorial titled, ‘Informal meetings important new element in high-level Sino-Indian exchanges’, stated, “The belated official announcement of Xi’s visits to the country’s two South Asian neighbors, only 48 hours ahead of the informal meeting, was proof that Beijing and New Delhi cherish the opportunity to improve bilateral ties through the personal chemistry between their top leaders.”
“That both Beijing and New Delhi announced the meeting will take place, squashed the earlier speculation that the two leaders would postpone any meeting and sent the reassuring message that they want nothing to get in the way of constructive engagement,” it added.
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