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Beijing sending top trouble-shooter
The Telegraph[Tuesday, October 20, 2009 09:34]
JAYANTH JACOB

New Delhi, Oct. 19: Chinese President Hu Jintao’s key trouble-shooter is expected to visit India in November to try and ease diplomatic tensions and may travel to Calcutta to meet Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, sources said.

Zhou Yongkang, a Chinese Communist Party (CPC) politburo member, has a role in shaping Beijing’s legal, legislative and security agendas and oversaw security for the Beijing Olympics. Hu had sent him to Xinjiang last July to deal with the ethnic violence there.

His visit may happen in the third week of November, probably between November 16 and 20, the sources said.

Chinese diplomats have told South Block that Zhou would like to meet Indian political leaders, including Sonia Gandhi.

The itinerary being planned in Delhi includes meetings with the BJP leadership and senior government officials. Zhou also wants to visit Bangalore, India’s IT capital, the sources said.

Since the plans being drawn up cover different political formations and geographical regions within India, the Chinese are keen on a meeting with Bhattacharjee, too.

“Being a politburo member, Zhou is a political person. If a meeting with the Left Front chief minister can be arranged, it will meet the twin goals of meeting a communist leader and going to eastern India, too,” a source said.

Zhou’s role in China’s security matters means Delhi has to watch out for possible protests by Tibetan groups against his trip.

The visit will come at a time Beijing has objected to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, and Delhi has protested against Chinese assistance to projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Zhou is secretary of the CPC central committee’s politics and law commission and director of its public security commission. He is a former general manager of the China National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s largest oil and gas producer.

He heads China’s central political and legislative committee, which directs the government’s legal policy and legislative agenda. He is also Beijing’s point man in Darfur, Sudan, where his combined experience in security and energy matters comes in handy.

China has a keen interest in Sudan where it has invested billions of dollars, particularly in the oil sector. It has steadfastly defended the African country’s Islamic regime, angering western governments and human rights groups.
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