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My visit to China will set ‘new milestone’ for Asia: PM

Chinese President Xi Jinping with PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi:  Faced with irritants like the boundary issue and China’s plans for infrastructure projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have a tough task as he meets the Chinese leadership during his three-day visit to China from tomorrow which he hoped will set a “new milestone” for Asia.

Modi, who is undertaking his first visit to China as Prime Minister, will reach the ancient city of Xi’an, the home town of President Xi Jinping, for a summit meeting, an unusual departure from normal protocol and seen as a reciprocal gesture by the Chinese leader who was hosted by Modi in Ahmedabad when he visited India in September last year.

“I am looking forward to the trip to China… the 21st century belongs to Asia,” the Prime Minister told Chinese media ahead of his visit.

The Prime Minister, who spoke in Hindi, hoped that his visit will “further deepen” India-China relations and set a “new milestone” for Asia and developing countries.

“I believe that my trip to China will not only deepen the China-India friendship, but also set a new milestone for the relations between developing countries in Asia as well as around the world. There is no doubt about that,” he told state-run CCTV ahead of this visit.

He said India and China have made great progress in bilateral relations in recent years and managed their differences with patience and maturity.

“Interacted with the Chinese media, where I highlighted the strong potential of India-China ties,” Modi tweeted.

“I talked about our shared responsibility to help developing nations, especially in poverty eradication,” he added.

In another tweet, he said, “Asia, being the land of Buddha has the responsibility to ensure that this is a century free from war.”

Modi noted that he had met President Xi three times during the last one year and held extensive talks on a wide range of issues.

This is first time since Xi took over power two years ago that he will be receiving a foreign leader outside Beijing and will spend considerable time informally interacting with Modi.

The only other leader Xi has spent time walking around was with Barack Obama last year during APEC summit when he took the US President around Zhongnanhai, the imperial garden in Beijing where the top Chinese leadership resides.

But the list of problems both countries face are considerable, ranging from the festering border dispute to China’s support for India’s arch-rival Pakistan.

President Xi had during his visit to Pakistan on April 20 announced a USD 46 billion package ato construct infrastructure including highways and hydel power projects along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through PoK to the Gwadar port in Balochistan.

New Delhi has lodged a protest with Beijing over the China-Pakistan economic corridor.

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