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Friday, January 12, 2001, updated at 10:39(GMT+8)

China to Set up Sino-Indian Parliamentary Friendship Group Soon: Li Peng

The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, will soon set up a Sino-Indian friendship group, visiting NPC Standing Committee chairman Li Peng announced Thursday in a meeting with a group of Indian parliamentary party leaders in New Delhi.

After the establishment of the Chinese group, Li said, it will invite members of the Indo-China friendship group in the Indian parliament to visit China. He also congratulated the establishment of the Indian group which has just come into being.

Li, who arrived here at noon Thursday after a two-day visit to Mumbai, 1,407 kilometers southwest of the capital city, expressed his appreciation and gratitude to all party leaders and heads of special commissions in the Indian parliament for their work and contributions to the understanding and friendship between the two peoples and to the improvement of bilateral relations.

Peoples of the two countries had established a profound and traditional friendship in the last two thousand years, Li said at the meeting, which was presided over by G. M. C. Balayogi, speaker of Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian parliament.

Balayogi told Li that the meeting, participated by 45 members of Indian parliament from various parties, showed that there were no difference among political parties in the country for further development of Indo-China relations.

Following their self introductions, the parliament members raised a number of questions on Sino-Indian relations, cooperation between parliaments of the two countries, world situation and regional developments to the Chinese top legislator.

Li described the essential aspect of relations between China and India as satisfactory though there had been setbacks in the past, saying that an important task faced by politicians of the two most populous countries is a decision on what kind of mutual relations that should be established between Beijing and New Delhi in the new century.

Li, who arrived in the South Asian country last Tuesday for a week-long official goodwill visit, told the Indian party leaders that, towards the end of last century, the two countries reached a very important consensus on future development of their relations based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, initiated by the two countries in the 1950s, with a prerequisite that the two countries should not see each other as a threat.

China had invariably insisted that, as major powers in Asia and among developing countries in the world, China and India, which have similar experiences in the past and face common tasks of development at present, had every reason to bring a bright future to their relations based on harmony, equal treatment and mutual trust.

Li recalled the state visit by Chinese President Jiang Zemin in 1996, saying during Jiang's meeting with Indian leaders including Indian President Kocheril Raman Narayanan, the two sides took a broad and long-term view on the development of Sino-India relations and decided to bring a relationship of constructive and cooperative partnership to the 21st century.

It was without question, Li admitted, that the two countries had different views on some aspects in their views on the world and there were also certain differences in the development of their relations due to different historic background, social systems and religions.

However, he added, China had all along paid attention and sought solution to all issues between the two neighbors, either those which arose in the present time or those left over by history which needs time, patience and mutual efforts to reach a solution.

All problems between the two countries could be resolved if the two sides stick to the Five Principles and create a suitable environment and conditions for a final solution, said Li, who visited New Delhi in 1991 as Chinese Premier.

On South Asia, Li said, there would be no peace and prosperity in Asia without security and development in South Asia, which has one third of the population of Asia.

Expressing his sincere hope that South Asian countries would respect each other, live in harmony and seek mutual development, Li said, a peaceful, secured and prosperous South Asia would not only conform to common interests of countries in the region but also benefit peace and security in Asia and the world as a whole.

He stated that, as a close neighbor to South Asian countries, China always attached great importance to the traditional ties with all countries in the region and hoped to maintain and further develop friendship with them, which is a vested policy of the Chinese government.

On exchanges between parliaments and political parties, Li told Indian party leaders that the NPC devotes much attention to the exchanges and cooperation with parliaments of all countries

including India.

The NPC and the Indian parliament have undertaken constructive and effective exchanges and cooperation in recent years while the ruling Communist Party of China has established and further developed its friendly relations with many of the political parties in India, Li said.

In This Section

The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, will soon set up a Sino-Indian friendship group, visiting NPC Standing Committee chairman Li Peng announced Thursday in a meeting with a group of Indian parliamentary party leaders in New Delhi.

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