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Mr Li Peng, a former Prime Minister of China and now President of the National People's Congress, said in New Delhi on 11 January, towards the end of his visit to our country, that "there were centuries old civilisational ties between our two countries". Let us realise that this is a new voice to be raised by a veteran Chinese statesman about the relations between the two countries since the unfortunate event of 1962. Let us first see whose voice is this.
Mr Li Peng represents his country's National People's Congress, a body of 2,978 deputies which has power to remove from office the highest officers of state. Its standing committee supervises the state council which is the supreme executive organ comprising the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and State Councillors. Moreover, Mr Li Peng is one of the seven members of the Politburo elected in March 1998, its general secretary being Jiang Zemin who was sworn in as President of the People's Republic of China in April 1993. We must also bear in mind the fact that China's present constitution, adopted in 1993, embodies the principles of a "Socialist market economy".
We must also see that Mr Li Peng spoke with utmost …