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Will review India-China relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective : PM Modi

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi before his all-important meeting with the Chinese President on Thursday said that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will review Sino-Indian relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective when they meet at Wuhan on April 27-28.

In a statement made in New Delhi, he said: “President Xi and I will exchange views on a range of issues of bilateral and global importance.”

“We will discuss our respective visions and priorities for national development, particularly in the context of current and future international situation,” he said.

“We will also review the developments in the India-China relations from a strategic and long-term perspective.”

After a 73-day military stand-off between the two countries on the Doklam plateau in the India-Bhutan-China trijunction last year, the upcoming meeting is said to have its own importance in resolving the relationship between both the countries.

Two ministers from the Modi Cabinet, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had visited China for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ministerial meetings earlier this week.

PM Modi’s visit is being compared to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s 1988 visit, who met then China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and reset the bilateral ties strained since the 1962 war.

 

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30 Afghan security forces killed in Taliban attacks: officials

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Herat | Taliban fighters killed around 30 Afghan security forces in multiple attacks in western Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday, days after the group ended its ceasefire.

“More than half of the fatalities came from the ambush and roadside bomb blasts that hit a reinforcement convoy,” Badghis provincial governor Abdul Qhafoor Malikzai told AFP.

The other soldiers and police were killed when militants stormed their bases overnight, Qhafoor added. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks in a WhatsApp message to journalists.

Provincial council chief Abdul Aziz Bek confirmed the death toll. “During the ceasefire, the Taliban had sent informants to collect information about the bases and plan the attack,” he told

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Sri Lanka calls for details of conflict missing issued by rights group

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Colombo | The Sri Lankan government today appealed for details of people who went missing during the country’s three-decade civil war after a list of such persons was published by an international rights group.

Last month, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) listed about 280 names of enforced disappearances which included at least 29 children.

ITJP called it the largest single group of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka’s history with hundreds of people disappearing at the same time and place with multiple eye witnesses both inside and outside the country .

The number has since been increased to 351 and all of them have been described as those “who are alleged to have disappeared while in the custody of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in May 2009″ when the civil war ended with the defeat of the LTTE militant group.

The foreign ministry said the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) is the permanent and independent entity in Sri Lanka that is vested with the tasks of searching and tracing of missing persons and clarifying the circumstances in which such persons went missing, and their fate, making recommendations to relevant authorities towards reducing the incidents of missing persons, protecting the rights and interests of missing persons and their relatives, and identifying proper avenues of redress to which such missing people or their relatives may have recourse.

Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges and encourages anyone in Sri Lanka or overseas to kindly share with the Office on Missing Persons,” it said.

The OMP became operational in May and have toured the former conflict zones in the north and east to meet with relatives of the missing.

The OMP was one of the institutions which the UN Human Rights Council recommended to be set up through three successive resolutions which urged for independent international mechanisms to probe alleged human rights abuses blamed on both Sri Lankan government troops and the LTTE.

The opposition has accused the OMP of targeting security forces who had fought the LTTE during the brutal separatist conflict.

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North Korea’s Kim Jong hails ‘unity’ with China in new visit

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Beijing | Kim Jong Un wrapped up today his third visit to China this year, declaring North Korea’s unstinting “friendship” with Beijing in a show of loyalty to his main ally following a landmark summit with US President Donald Trump.

The two-day visit was designed to reassure Beijing that Pyongyang will not neglect its interests as Trump and the young autocrat move into uncharted diplomatic terrain.

The performance is part of a delicate balancing act for Kim, who analysts say is seeking to play US and Chinese interests off each other while maintaining good relations with Beijing, his economic patron and diplomatic protector.

China and the US both hope to see the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons, but Beijing is concerned Washington and Pyongyang might move closer at its expense, a possibility that China sees as threatening to its economic and security interests in the region.

While China was not present at the June 12 summit in Singapore, it lent Kim a plane to travel to the city-state, a clear sign that it remains an influential force in the diplomatic shuffle.

The Cold War-era allies, which fought side-by-side against US-led UN forces and South Korea in the 1950-1953 Korean War, have sought to repair ties strained by Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and Beijing’s support of subsequent UN sanctions.

Kim chose Beijing for his first official foreign trip in March and met Xi again in May in the northeastern port city of Dalian.

Kim’s agenda for Wednesday was not made public, but an AFP journalist saw a motorcade believed to be Kim’s arriving at the airport, where his plane taxied onto the runway in preparation for take off.

During his meeting with Xi Tuesday, Kim thanked China for “positive and sincere support and good help for the successful” summit with Trump, according to North Korea’s official KCNA news agency.

The North Korean leader, who was greeted by a military honour guard and cheering children at the Great Hall of the People Tuesday, said he valued the “recently strengthened strategic cooperation” between the two countries.

“He expressed the determination and will to further develop the closer relations of friendship, unity and cooperation between the two parties and the two peoples of the DPRK and China,” KCNA said.

Kim also invoked the “prospect for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” following his meeting with Trump.

For his part, Xi told Kim that China “speaks highly” of his summit with Trump and he urged Washington and Pyongyang to implement their agreement struck in Singapore.

The Chinese leader vowed that Beijing would continue to play a “constructive role” in the nuclear diplomacy.

The official media of both countries did not say whether Kim and Xi discussed the prospect of easing UN sanctions that have crippled North Korea’s economy, though analysts said it could have been part of the agenda.

Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said Kim and Xi were likely seeking “common ground” following the Singapore summit.

For China, North Korea can serve as “an important card” as Beijing faces a potential trade war with the United States, Shin told AFP.

“For the North, it can also show to the world, especially the US, that Beijing has Pyongyang’s back if the North’s ties with the US sour in the future,” Shin said.

North Korean officials have also visited China recently to learn about its economic reforms — yet another sign of Pyongyang’s reliance on Beijing for its economic well-being.

Kim was believed to have visited an agriculture sciences centre on Wednesday, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

“We are happy to see that the DPRK made a major decision to shift the focus to economic construction, and the development of the DPRK’s socialist cause has entered a new stage in history,” Xi told Kim, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

China has backed United Nations sanctions against its ally but indicated last year that the UN Security Council could consider easing the punitive measures.

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