By Naveen Kapoor
Guangzhou, June 5 : With a sub-prime property crisis hitting US markets and a slowdown being witnessed in Europe, China is looking forward to enhancing trade ties with its neighbouring countries, and especially with India.
This was conveyed to visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee by politburo member and Communist Party of China (CPC) secretary, Wang Yang.
Both leaders agreed that more channels of interaction and cooperation should be opened between the two countries.
Yang also expressed appreciation of the increase in trade between Guangdong Province and India, an estimated increase of 30 per cent in the last five years.
Laying stress on the need to preserve the environment, Yang told Mukherjee "If we fail to protect the environment, it can result in our political defeat".
On his part, Mukherjee expressed India's willingness to learn from China's success story of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and environmental protection.
After officially inaugurating the Consulate General here, Mukherjee will head for Beijing where he will meet his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi later today.
Mukherjee is visiting China at Jiechi's invitation.
Mukherjee's visit will be the first high-level political exchange between both countries after Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to China from January 13 to 15.
Jaswant Singh was the last Indian Foreign Minister to visit China from March 29 to April 2, 2002.