India, China PMs' discuss "difficult issues" in Hanoi, Special Reps to meet

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Hanoi (Vietnam), Oct. 29 (ANI): Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao used their tenth meeting as leaders of their respective governments to discuss threadbare all "difficult" issues bedeviling bilateral ties.

During their 45-minute meeting here this morning, Jiabao expressed his wish to visit India before the end of the year, a wish that was welcomed by Dr. Singh.

Both sides also asked their Special Representatives - Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo - to meet at the end of November and work through the difficult issues, besides determining the agenda of Jiabao's visit later in the same month.

The two Special Representatives last met in August 2009 in New Delhi.

Although the officials did not elaborate on the "difficult issues" that were discussed at the meeting held on the sides of the ASEAN, India-ASEAN and East Asia summits, sources did say that the issue of China handing out stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir was taken up firmly by the Indian delegation at Friday's meeting.

Briefing media persons here about the meeting, Menon said: "The Prime Minister raised the issue of all difficult questions of sensitivity to each other and we were instructed, the Special Representatives and the officials on both sides-to work our way to prepare for Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visit and to work our way to solutions to all the issues that are difficult in our relationship, including the boundary question, but as I said the entire range of relationship was discussed."

"On the boundary issue, both sides said that they look forward to an early resolution of the issue. Both mentioned the need to carry the process forward on the guiding principles and political parameters that was signed in 2005," Menon added.

Both sides agreed to maintain peace and tranquility on the borders dividing the two countries. It was also decided to work through the issue of suspended high-level defence cooperation.

During the meeting Premier Wen said he was conscious of trade imbalance between the two countries and outlined measures China is taking to redress it.

A review of strategic relations was also carried out and the importance of good India-China relations was emphasized, Menon said.

Earlier, during a photo opportunity featuring the two leaders this morning, Jiabao is said to have told Dr. Singh that he accepted his view that the world was large enough to accommodate the ambitions and aspirations of both India and China, and added that he was looking forward to his visit to India before the end of the year.

Jiabao was referring to Prime Minister Singh's statement made in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. It may be recalled that Dr. Singh also said there are enormous possibilities for India to work with China, and that it is in this sense that New Delhi is pproaching its relations with China.

Dr. Singh replied that he would be happy to receive his Chinese counterpart in New Delhi, and reminded Jiabao that it was the tenth time that both leaders were meeting as prime ministers of their respective countries.

Jiabao said there was a need to achieve a consensus on all major issues so as to lay the foundation of a successful visit to New Delhi. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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