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Modi to visit China during May 14-16, trade expected to top agenda

101Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China next week, Beijing said on Tuesday, as New Delhi tries to balance its trade deficit with its neighbour despite a simmering border dispute.
This will be Modi’s first visit to China as prime minister. In a statement posted online, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Modi will visit during May 14-16.
During the three-day visit, Modi will visit Xian, Beijing and Shanghai. He will hold bilateral meetings with the Chinese leadership and will participate in cultural and business events.
Modi will also attend an event organised by the Indian community in China.
His engagement in Mongolia on May 17 marks the first visit by an Indian prime minister to the region.
He will then visit South Korea during May 18-19 to hold bilateral discussions with President Park Geun-hye and meet important business leaders in Seoul, an official statement said on Tuesday.
The trip follows a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to India in September, where the leaders of the world’s two most populous countries emphasised cooperation and business deals such as funding for railways.
China is India’s biggest trading partner with two-way commerce totalling close to $70 billion. But India’s trade deficit with China has soared from just $1 billion in 2001-02 to more than $40 billion, Indian figures show.
Experts say Modi must bridge the deficit by seeking greater access to the Chinese market, with the two sides targeting annual bilateral trade of $100 billion this year.
But relations are still dogged by mutual suspicion — a legacy of a brief, bloody border war in 1962 over Arunachal Pradesh, areas of which Beijing claims as part of Tibet.
Both sides regularly accuse the other’s soldiers of crossing over into their territory.
Modi warned China to shed its “expansionist mindset” at an election rally last year. China hit back, saying it “never waged a war of aggression to occupy any inch of land of other countries”.