Didi Cancels China Trip

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s proposed week long trip to China was called off at the last moment on Friday barely six to seven hours before her flight to Beijing. According to a note issued by the West Bengal government, the trip was cancelled as there was no confirmation on the proposed political meetings between the Mamata and the Chinese leadership.

In a press statement, Banerjee explained that she was “compelled” to cancel the visit at the last minute since China could not confirm her proposed meetings with the political leaders. “Till Thursday, everything was going well, but unfortunately, the Chinese side could not confirm the political meetings at appropriate level as informed by our ambassador in China,” Banerjee said. “It has now been intimated by our ambassador in China that the political meetings at the appropriate level under the Exchange Programme could not be confirmed. Therefore, the purpose of my visit with a delegation to China under the Exchange Programme is of no use.” The state government officials clarified that the “appropriate level” was defined by the MEA and not by the Bengal government.

“I wish the continuation of friendship between India and China in days to come and it should strengthen further in the interest of both the countries,” she said.

Ma Zhanwu, the consul general of the People’s Republic of China in Kolkata said, “I have no clue that the chief minister has cancelled the visit. I have to check what suddenly went wrong.”

The Chinese consulate issued a statement on Friday. “We have taken note of the fact that Madam Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, announced the cancellation of her trip to China on the afternoon of 22 June 2018. The Chinese side attaches great importance to its relationship with India and to the exchanges between the Chinese provinces and the Indian states. It was working hard to prepare for the Chief Minister’s trip to China, including on the relevant arrangements during the visit...The Chinese Consulate General in Kolkata has all along been committed to promoting ties between the Chinese provinces and West Bengal, and will continue its efforts.” it said.

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