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BEIJING: With Chinese President Xi Jinping due to arrive for an informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chennai on Friday, it is not clear whether the leaders would confront the major issue of Kashmir or choose to skip it.
The two countries have diametrically opposite views on Kashmir, and a discussion on it would result in a deadlock during the summit. The two sides will have to decide if they want to skip or soft-peddle the issue when several other matters, including trade and investment exchanges, remain to be discussed. China is particularly keen to get India on board in its public opposition to trade actions taken by US President Donald Trump which have shaken up the Chinese economy.
The Chinese foreign ministry refused on Thursday to discuss the Kashmir issue other than saying that China’s stand on it is consistent. “China’s position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during the regular briefing.
The careful statement comes a day after the Chinese president supported Pakistan’s claims about Kashmir. Xi was clearly trying to send a signal to India that there was no change in his approach to Kashmir since he took a pro-Pakistan stance and asked his envoys to raise the issue at the UN Security Council.
“China thinks Pakistan will come under severe pressure from India if the Kashmir issue is taken off the shelf. It wants to keep the kettle boiling,” a Western diplomat told TOI on condition of anonymity.
An informal summit allows leaders to conduct meetings without the need to sign agreements and show results. But official spokespersons from both countries may brief the media during and after the meetings.
The government recently allowed the Chinese firm Huawei Technologies to demonstrate its 5G technology during the upcoming India Mobile Congress between October 14 and 16.
This is a major concession for the Chinese government which has been actively lobbying with different countries to accept Huawei’s technology in the face of the US decision to resist it.
China is still worried that India may not allow Huawei technology even after the demonstrations.
“Regarding Huawei, it has been conducting business in India, making contributions to the local community and economy which have been seen by all,” Geng said at the briefing, adding, “On the 5G network, we believe the Indian side will make an independent and objective decision and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies.”
Replying to a question on the meeting between Xi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Geng said, “There are a lot of fruitful outcomes from Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit. This will be a new impetus to our bilateral partnership.”
TimesofIndia

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