Xi may host Imran in Beijing before meeting Modi in TN

China is likely to host Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan just days before the communist country's president Xi Jinping's proposed visit to India.

Khan will visit Beijing primarily to attend China-Pakistan Business Forum on October 8. He is also expected to meet Xi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. What adds to the significance of his tour to Beijing is that China, which has been persistently echoing Pakistan in opposing India's recent decisions on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), is hosting him just days before Chinese President is likely to visit India to hold the second “informal summit” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi and Xi are likely to meet at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu from October 11 to 13. Though preparations for the visit of Prime Minister and Chinese President to the ancient heritage city are on, neither New Delhi nor Beijing has so far officially confirmed the venue and the date of the summit.

Prime Minister and Chinese President held the first “informal summit” at Wuhan in central China in April 2018 – bringing about a thaw in India-China bilateral relations which had hit a new low over the 72-day-long military stand-off at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan in June-August, 2017.

Beijing has been repeatedly criticising Modi Government's August 5 decisions to strip J&K of its special status and to reorganize the state into two Union Territories – thus striking a jarring note to the bonhomie that marked the relations between India and China since the first “informal summit”.

Sources told the DH that New Delhi would naturally keep a close watch on Khan's visit to Beijing to see if Chinese President and Premier join him again in criticising India's decisions on J&K.

New Delhi had on September 10 strongly criticized a reference to J&K in a joint statement issued after Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and China, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Wang Yi, had a meeting in Islamabad.

China was one of the three nations – Malaysia and Turkey being the other two – that explicitly supported Pakistan at the UN General Assembly last week to oppose India's recent moves on J&K.

Beijing perceived New Delhi's decisions on J&K as “unilateral” moves to strengthen claim – not only on areas of Kashmir under occupation of Pakistan, but also on 5183 sq. kms areas of Pakistan ceded to China in 1963 and on Aksai Chin – a disputed territory between India and China.

Khan on September 27 last used his address at the United Nations to continue Islamabad's tirade against New Delhi over Modi Government's recent decisions.

Shortly after Modi underlined India's message of peace and harmony in his address at the UN General Assembly on Friday, Khan used the same podium to warn the world of a nuclear war between the two South Asian nations. He accused New Delhi of curbing the human rights of the people of Kashmir.

A day later, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also echoed Pakistan Prime Minister and reiterated Beijing's stand that the dispute over J&K should be resolved in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. New Delhi strongly protested Chinese Foreign Minister's statement, underlining that Modi Government's decisions on J&K were “internal affairs” of India. It also called upon China to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

New Delhi has been maintaining that the 1972 Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan and the 1999 Lahore Declaration had left no scope for the UN or any third party to play any role in resolving the “outstanding issues” between the two South Asian neighbours.

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