Xi Jinping’s visit date still not official, China envoy tweets about unleashing Wuhan positives

Shubhajit Roy
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in June. (File)

With just four days to go, China is yet to officially confirm President Xi Jinping’s proposed visit to India for the second informal summit in Mamallapuram near Chennai, but Beijing’s envoy has said that the two countries should unleash the “positive effect of Wuhan informal summit” as they look ahead.

This is the first positive sign amid a series of strong statements and moves that have adversely impacted the bilateral space before the informal summit. Read in Tamil

China’s Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, tweeted Monday: “Under the strategic guidance of our leaders, China-India ties made steady progress in recent past. Looking ahead, we should further unleash the positive effect of Wuhan informal summit, transmit leaders’ consensus to all level & gather positive energy for stronger bilateral ties.”

Sun, who has earlier served as Chinese envoy to Pakistan and political counsellor at the Indian embassy in Delhi, had tweeted Sunday: “Since Wuhan Informal Summit, the relations have witnessed steady progress. Glad to see our leaders’ consensus be transformed into cooperation fruits. Hope more impetus for our friendship.”

While there has been no official announcement of the visit, which is expected to take place on October 11 and 12, the Ministry of External Affairs has started the process of registration for the informal summit — but without specifying the dates.

In 2018, the announcement of the informal Wuhan summit between Modi and Xi was announced by then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on April 22, five days before the event on April 27 and 28.

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.

Explained: Ahead of proposed Modi-Xi meeting, understanding ‘Informal Summits’

Ambassador Yao Jing had said that China would stand by Pakistan on the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. “We are also working for Kashmiris to help them get their fundamental rights and justice. There should be a justified solution to the issue of Kashmir and China will stand by Pakistan for regional peace and stability,” he said, according to Pakistani daily The Express Tribune.

Yao has served in New Delhi as deputy chief of mission earlier. Delhi viewed his comments as a departure from Beijing’s position of Kashmir being a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, and as interference in India’s “internal matter” and “not keeping in spirit” with the proposed visit by Xi.

Earlier, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi did not come to India for the Special Representative-level talks expected to be held on September 9.

Last week, Chinese Vice Minister in Foreign Ministry Luo Zhaohui, who was earlier the Chinese envoy to India, raised the issue of the Himgiri military exercises in Arunachal Pradesh with Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale.

On Saturday, Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong disputed a report in the media that the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi were held on the Indian Embassy premises in Beijing because the local authority denied permission at the chosen venue, Chaoyang Park.

Earlier, at the UN General Assembly, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had raised the issue of Kashmir on September 27, the same day as Modi and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the gathering.

Responding to Wang’s statement, the MEA spokesperson had said: “We expect that other countries will respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and desist from efforts to change the status quo through the illegal so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.”