Chinese PM vows to open up markets to India

May 21, 2013
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China's Prime Minister, Li Keqiang (R) and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on May 20, 2013/AFP
China’s Prime Minister, Li Keqiang (R) and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on May 20, 2013/AFP
NEW DELHI, May 21 – Visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Tuesday to open up domestic markets to Indian businesses and narrow a gaping trade deficit between the two countries.

“As for Indian concerns over the trade deficit, the Chinese side is willing to provide facilitations for more Indian products to access the Chinese market,” Li said during a speech to Indian business leaders in New Delhi.

“I am confident we have the ability to mitigate the trade imbalance between our two countries,” he added.

The Indian and Chinese premiers pledged on Monday to finally resolve a border dispute that has soured ties for decades, saying good relations between the two Asian giants were key to world peace.

Li, making his first foreign visit since taking office, said that Beijing was determined to build up trust with New Delhi as he and a team of ministers signed a series of joint agreements with India.

His host, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also stressed he regarded a good bilateral relationship as crucial to the wider region’s development.

Li’s visit comes after a flare-up last month in a long-running border dispute between the two countries in a remote Himalayan region.

New Delhi accused Chinese troops of intruding nearly 20 kilometres (12 miles) into Indian-claimed territory, triggering a three-week stand-off that was resolved when troops from both sides pulled back.

The Line of Actual Control between the nuclear-armed neighbours has never been formally demarcated, although they have signed accords to maintain peace since the border region saw a brief Indo-Chinese war in 1962.

Singh said there was now a mutual desire to finally resolve the dispute and that a joint working group would be established to reach a lasting agreement.

“We agreed that our special representatives will meet soon to continue discussions seeking an early agreement on a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable boundary settlement,” Singh said after talks with Li.

“Peace and tranquillity on our border has to be preserved,” the Indian leader added at a joint news conference in New Delhi.

Li said the border dispute was a historical hangover and that there was a desire on both sides to overcome it.

“We have established the principles for settling the question,” Li said.

“Both sides believe we need to improve the border mechanisms that have been put into place and make them more efficient.. and appropriately resolve our differences.

“The two sides should continue to advance the negotiations on the boundary question and jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border area,” he added.

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