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India's Mukherjee to Visit China to Improve Relations (Update1)

June 1, 2008

By Zhang Dingmin and Bibhudatta Pradhan
May 29, 2008

Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will visit China
early next month to discuss pushing forward ties between the world's
most populous nations and fastest-growing major economies.

Mukherjee will have discussions with his counterpart Yang Jiechi on
"bilateral and regional and international issues of mutual interest,"
during the four-day visit starting June 4, India's foreign ministry
said in a release in New Delhi today. Mukherjee will also meet
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

India and China, which fought a war in 1962, have improved political,
economic and military ties in recent years, although differences over
border disputes remain. Mukherjee's visit will be the first
high-level political exchange after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh's trip to China in January.

China and India will discuss "how to implement the consensus agreed
upon by leaders of the two countries on furthering their strategic
cooperative partnership," China's foreign ministry spokesman Qin
Gang, told reporters at a briefing in Beijing today.

Both sides, rivals for energy resources in Africa and elsewhere, have
tried to ensure that relations have not been marred by disputes over
the 3,500-kilometer (2,175-mile) border. India is the world's
fastest-growing major economy after China.

During Singh's visit, both countries agreed to start talks to develop
a "high-quality" regional trading agreement and cooperate in civil
nuclear energy as the two nations unveiled a "shared vision for the
21st century."

Mukherjee's visit comes amid continuing protests in India by
supporters of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual Buddhist
leader, following the Chinese crackdown in Tibet.

India, which recognizes its northern neighbor's control over Tibet,
sought to curb protests by exiles and ensured the safe passage of the
Olympic Torch in New Delhi.

To contact the reporters for this story: Zhang Dingmin in Beijing at; Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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