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Dr Singh, China PM review bilateral ties

November 19, 2012 11:40 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on Monday reiterated that bilateral relations were in a good state.

Dr Singh and Wen, who met at Phnom Penh on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, reviewed the ties during a meeting that may well be their last, as the Chinese leader would be demitting office in March.

In his opening remarks, Wen said he had cherished working with Dr Singh over the last eight years, during which they met 14 times.

"We established a good working relationship and friendship between us. This is a reflection of friendship between our two great nations," Wen said.

"This is possibly the last meeting between us in my remaining tenure," he said while referring to the change of leadership in China, under which he will demit office in March.

Dr Singh hailed Wen's personal endeavour to make the bilateral relationship "stronger, wider and deeper".

He specifically referred to Wen's two visits to India in 2005 and 2010, saying these helped make the ties "stronger".

During the first visit in 2005, the two countries established a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership while the second visit in 2010 marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

"I personally value working with you," Dr Singh told Wen.

On Sunday, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma had said that India expects continuity and stability in its relations with China after the once-in-a-decade leadership change in the Communist nation.

China is India's largest trade partner but the trade deficit between the two economies has ballooned to $ 23 billion in China's favour in October this year, as India continues to import more than what it exports to the country.

India and China have a set a target of taking their total trade to $100 billion by 2015. The total bilateral trade reached a high of $73.90 billion last year but the figure dropped to $55.6 billion in the first 10 months of this year, a drop of 8 per cent.

Ajay Kaul In Phnom Penh
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