Mukherjee arrives in China to warm welcome

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Guangzhou, Jun 4 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee arrived here today to a warm welcome for a four-day visit to review bilateral relations between India and China.

He was welcomed by Mr Fu Long, a senior official of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, at the airport. Indian Ambassador to China Nirupama Rao was also present.

The External Affairs Minister would inaugurate the new Consulate General of India in Guangzhou.

He would leave for Beijing tomorrow, where a special dinner would be hosted for him at Forbidden City.

Underlining the importance of Mr Mukherjee's visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman yesterday said, ''Both India and China regard this visit as a significant one as they consider each other good neighbours and not a threat.'' He said China wanted that both the countries should work together towards peace along the borders before resolving the border dispute.

Mr Mukherjee would meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit.

The visit, the first high-level political exchange between the two countries after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tour from January 13 to 15, will provide an opportunity for both countries to have discussions on the border issue, Myanmar and Tibet.

Mr Jaswant Singh was the last External Affairs Minister to visit China from March 29 to April 2 in 2002.

UNI MK SKB HT1900

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