China ready for Wuhan-style summit meet with India despite differences over BRI: Foreign Minister

BEIJING, Apr 19: China said on Friday that it is ready to hold a Wuhan-style summit meeting with India this year to improve ties, notwithstanding the differences over the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in which the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project.
Addressing a media conference here ahead of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) being held from 25-27 April to showcase China’s trillion-dollar BRI, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi appealed to India to shed its opposition to the $ 60 billion CPEC, saying it no way “undermined” the basic position on the Kashmir dispute.
Asked if India’s opposition to the BRI would undermine the new momentum generated by last year’s informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Wang said the two leaders had a very successful meeting at Wuhan city.
“Particularly, they have established mutual trust between the leadership and they jointly planned for the future of improvement and strengthening of China-India relations.
“After the Wuhan summit, we see all areas of progress between the two countries and we have bright prospect for this relationship. We are now preparing for the next summit of our leaders,” he said without specifying any timeline.
After the Wuhan summit hosted by China, the second summit will be held by India. President Xi plans to visit India for the second informal summit after the general elections, currently underway, are over.
Wang said so far 37 heads of states and governments had confirmed their participation in the BRF. Representatives from over 150 countries organisations, close to 5,000 participants, have confirmed their participation.
Leaders of Pakistan and Nepal are among the countries who would take part in the meeting.
Informed sources here told PTI that there was no official invitation from China to the Indian leadership or at the ministerial level to take part in its second BRF meeting.
For its first BRF meeting, held in May 2017, China had invited India to take part in the six separate forums that China organised as part of the meeting.
Indian Ambassador to China, Vikram Misri, flagged India’s concerns over the CPEC in an interview to state-run Global Times last month, stating that “above all, connectivity initiatives must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of nations. No country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The BRI is a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by President Xi when he came to power in 2013. It aims to link southeast Asia, central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.(PTI)