Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a brief interaction with Chinese premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit here.
Both Modi and Keqiang had chit-chat on Sunday also during a gala dinner hosted by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. “Two neighbours in deep conversation. PM @narendramodi with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the margins of #EastAsiaSummit Summit in #Manila,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted along with a photograph of the two leaders engaging in a conversation while sitting on a sofa. When asked about the meeting between Modi and Li, Kumar said at a media briefing later that it was in the nature of a lounge meeting and that the two leaders met during a break between two summits.
Kumar said no officials was present as the meeting took place at leaders’ lounge and that is why he was not able to share details of it. Ties between the two Asian giants have nosedived in the last few months over a series of contentious issues, including the over two month-long standoff between armies of the two countries in Dokalam in the Sikkim sector and China’s strident opposition to the move to declare Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
In an address at the ASEAN-China summit, Li said his country was committed to strengthen ties with the 10-member grouping amid mounting concerns by several countries of the bloc over growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. Modi, in his address at the East Asia Summit, conveyed India’s total support and commitment to work with the East Asia Summit, an influential bloc, to address political, security and trade related issues in the region.