News

DATE=6/14/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-250604 TITLE=CHINA/INDIA (L ONLY) BYLINE=ROGER WILKISON DATELINE=BEIJING CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: INDIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JASWANT SINGH HAS ARRIVED IN CHINA FOR A THREE-DAY VISIT THAT INDIAN OFFICIALS SAY WAS SCHEDULED BEFORE NEW DELHI STEPPED UP ITS ATTACKS ON REBELS IN KASHMIR. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT ROGER WILKISON REPORTS MR. SINGH'S VISIT TO BEIJING COMES THREE DAYS AFTER A LIGHTNING TRIP TO THE CHINESE CAPITAL BY PAKISTAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER. TEXT: MR. SINGH IS THE FIRST INDIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT CHINA IN EIGHT YEARS. INDIAN OFFICIALS SAY HIS VISIT SHOULD BE SEEN IN THE CONTEXT OF SINO-INDIAN RELATIONS AND NOT IN RELATION TO THE RECENT FLARE-UP OF FIGHTING BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN OVER KASHMIR. MR. SINGH'S PAKISTANI COUNTERPART, SARTAJ AZIZ, MADE A BRIEF TRIP TO BEIJING ON FRIDAY TO CONSULT WITH CHINESE OFFICIALS ON THE KASHMIR CRISIS. ON SATURDAY, HE MET WITH MR. SINGH IN NEW DELHI, BUT THEIR TALKS ENDED IN FAILURE, WITH EACH SIDE MAINTAINING A HARD-LINE POSITION ON THEIR STANDOFF OVER KASHMIR. INDIA BEGAN ATTACKS ON MAY 26TH TO FLUSH OUT WHAT IT CALLS PAKISTANI-BACKED INFILTRATORS IN THE INDIAN-CONTROLLED SECTOR OF THE DISPUTED REGION. PAKISTAN SAYS IT ONLY PROVIDES DIPLOMATIC AND MORAL SUPPORT FOR THE GUERRILLAS. MR. AZIZ SAID FRIDAY CHINA AGREES WITH PAKISTAN THAT THERE SHOULD BE A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT TO THE CRISIS OVER KASHMIR. CHINA AND PAKISTAN ARE LONG-TIME ALLIES. BOTH HAVE FOUGHT WARS WITH INDIA AND ARE WARY OF NEW DELHI'S DOMINANT ROLE ON THE SUB-CONTINENT. BUT DESPITE ITS ALLIANCE WITH ISLAMABAD, BEIJING HAS BEEN EVEN-HANDED IN CALLING ON BOTH INDIA AND PAKISTAN TO DEFUSE TENSIONS IN THE CURRENT CRISIS. CHINA IS CONCERNED ABOUT ANY ESCALATION OF THE CONFRONTATION BETWEEN ITS TWO NUCLEAR-CAPABLE NEIGHBORS. MR. SINGH HELD TALKS MONDAY WITH CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER TANG JIAXUAN AND WILL MEET ON TUESDAY WITH PREMIER ZHU RONGJI. BUT NEITHER SIDE OFFERED ANY DETAILS ON THE DISCUSSIONS. RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN STRAINED FOR DECADES AND GOT WORSE LAST YEAR WHEN INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTER GEORGE FERNANDES CALLED CHINA THE BIGGEST POTENTIAL THREAT TO HIS COUNTRY'S SECURITY. (SIGNED) NEB/RW/FC/PLM 14-Jun-99 6:16 AM EDT (1016 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .