China's Wen to Talk Borders, Trade on Visit to India

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, right, shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during Wen's ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Monday, April 11, 2005.

Trade and border issues are expected to top the agenda when Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao travels to India for a two-day visit this week.

Chinese foreign ministry officials said Monday that after the India stop Mr. Wen will visit Pakistan for three days to reaffirm warm ties between those two countries.

Relations between China and India have been strained by a long-running dispute over the two countries' Himalayan border and India's suspicions about the purpose of an increasing number of Chinese-funded port facilities around the Indian Ocean. But analyst Rory Medcalf at the Australian-based Lowy Institute says he believes Mr. Wen will be seeking to "wind back" those tensions during his visit beginning Wednesday.

Trade issues have also become of increasing importance between Asia's most populous countries. India will be looking for measures to reverse a trade deficit with China that could be as high as $25 billion this year.

India is also expected to press for Chinese support for its bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. U.S. President Barack Obama endorsed the bid during his recent visit to India, but China so far has been non-committal.

The visit follows a trip to China by Indian President Pratibha Patil in May, the first such visit in 10 years.

In Pakistan, Mr. Wen is expected to promise continued assistance for the country's recovery from devastating floods during the summer. China has already pledged $200 million to the effort.

There may also be discussions on nuclear energy cooperation. China has already agreed to help Pakistan build two nuclear reactors in Punjab province, despite Pakistan's failure to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.