Beijing: China on Monday dismissed any political significance to host the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in central Chinese city of Wuhan this week, saying that it was decided after consultations between the two countries.
Asked why Wuhan was chosen for the summit to be held on 27-28 April, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, “I don’t know why you are so interested in this question." Last time the two leaders met at Xi’s hometown Xi’an in western China which is a historic city and is deeply connected with India-China relations.
The arrangement for the informal meeting between the two heads of the state have been reached after consultation between the two countries, Lu told a media briefing. “We hope to create an enabling environment for in-depth talks between the two leaders so as to make joint efforts to enhance China-India relations," he said. While there are a wide range of cities “we can choose from, we don’t have any particular consideration for choosing Wuhan" as the venue for the meeting, he said.
Wuhan, located on the banks of Central China’s Hubei province, is a commercial centre divided by the Yangtze and Han rivers. It is the most populous city in central China. Besides containing many lakes and parks, including expansive, picturesque East Lake, the city also has the famous villa of China’s ruling Communist Party founder Mao Zedong, where he hosted many foreign leaders.
Any summit there regarded politically significant for 64-year-old Xi as he is regarded as the most powerful leader after Mao. Xi began his second five-year term last month but expected to continue for long in power as the Parliament has removed the two-term limit for President.
Elaborating further, the foreign ministry spokesman said India and China maintained close communication including the arrangements for venue and other issues, he said. “Moreover, the two sides have shared same consensus to hold this meeting so that it will promote further development of China-India relations," he said and referred to Sunday’s announcement about the summit by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in the presence of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
He said Wang stated that the information about the summit was released after the two sides kept very close communication including on the schedule setting and the arrangement for the venue. PTI