India, China Meet Over Indian Traders Allegedly Held Hostage

Posted January 4th, 2012 at 1:40 pm (UTC-5)
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China's ambassador to India met with India's foreign minister in New Delhi on Wednesday and vowed to resolve a diplomatic dispute over two Indian traders allegedly beaten and held against their will in eastern China.

Following the meeting, China's envoy to India, Zhang Yan, said the Chinese government “attaches great importance to this matter” and is working to resolve it “as early as possible.”

Indian Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna said both nations agree that the safety of the two Indian nationals is a priority. He also said the incident should not be blown out of proportion, as it could harm relations with China.

The two Indian traders say local Chinese businessmen in the city of Yiwu held them against their will and beat them in a dispute over money.

Diplomatic tensions escalated when an Indian consular official was hospitalized after attending a court hearing for the traders in Yiwu.

The hearing lasted five hours, during which the diplomat reportedly was unable to treat a medical condition. Following that incident, India's foreign ministry summoned Beijing's deputy chief of mission in New Delhi to complain about it.

A Chinese spokesman said Wednesday that the two traders are now under police protection at a hotel in Yiwu. He denied they had been mistreated.