China warms up to Patil, but no support for India’s UN bid (Roundup)

Beijing, May 27 (IANS) China Thursday described Indian President Pratibha Patil’s visit here as of ‘great significance’ but several rounds of talks between the two sides failed to get Beijing’s support for India’s Security Council aspirations.

President Patil, on her maiden visit to China, was given a ceremonial welcome inside the majestic Great Hall of People on the second day of her six-day visit, as it rained outside. Patil held a series of meetings with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao Thursday.

But the talks failed to get Beijing to express outright support for India’s bid for a UNSC seat. However, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao described as a ‘forward movement’ the ‘understanding’ shown by the Chinese leadership to India’s position.

‘China understands India’s desire, aspiration to ensure a more prominent role in the United Nations Security Council and also understands that representation of developing countries should be increased, especially in the UNSC,’ Rao told reporters Thursday evening.

‘The warmth of the welcome and the positive statement suggest that they are engaging with India on this issue and understand what we are trying to say,’ said Rao.

Rao said the Chinese were ‘not guarded or diplomatic’ in their dealings with India and now they are ‘ready to engage with India on this issue (UNSC) and listening to what we are saying.’

Earlier, Patil’s visit was described by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as one of ‘great significance’.

Patil also met National People’s Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo,

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao later told media persons that ‘China understands India’s desires, aspiration to ensure a more prominent role in the United Nations Security Council and also understands that representation of developing countries should be increased, especially in UNSC.’

She described the Chinese stand on India’s Security Council aspirations as ‘forward movement’ and ‘positive development’. ‘We will now stay in close touch with them and talk about it,’ she told reporters.

‘The warmth of the welcome and the positive statement suggest that they are engaging with India on this issue and understand what we are trying to say. There is much more clarity between us,’ said Rao.

Earlier in the day, Patil attended the ceremonial welcome at the Great Hall, which has a huge painting of the Great Wall of China as a background, while soldiers in green, white and blue uniforms gave her an impressive guard of honour. The Chinese band played the Indian national anthem during the welcome.

Premier Wen described the Indian president’s move to dedicate an Indian-style Buddhist temple in the ancient city of Luoyang on Saturday as ‘another effort to promote our friendly relationship’.