Border dispute has 'good prospects' of resolution: China

    April20/ 2022
    Last Updated:

    Beijing: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit here next month, China today said the border dispute has "good prospects" of resolution if it is backed by "strong political will" from both sides. Huang Xilian, Deputy Director General of Asian Affairs, said Beijing wants India and China to act as a "bridge" for the development of Nepal and Sri Lanka so as to reduce strategic rivalry between the two Asian giants and firm up their strategic influence in the region. "There are lot of perceptions about border issue. So long as the two leaderships have strong political will we have good prospects for the resolution of the border issue," Huang said at a briefing to Indian media about Modi's visit which is expected to take place in the third week of next month. Huang stated that progress has been made in recent Special Representatives (SR) talks held in New Delhi. "We believe that the two SRs will continue to carry on this process according to the consensus reached by the two leaders," he said in reply to a question as to whether China is open for a resolution of the border dispute based on status quo. China says the border dispute is confined only to 2,000 km mostly in Arunachal Pradesh whereas India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 km, especially the Aksai Chin area annexed by China in 1962 war. The two sides have held 18 rounds of talk and expectations are high on both sides as both Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping were regarded as strong leaders who could clinch a solution. "We have a very long border. You can see anywhere in the world there will be shooting crimes, but generally speaking, along the border we have maintained peace and stability, there have been no shooting incidents in the past decade. What is important is that both sides should work together to avoid such kind of incidents and promote tranquillity and stability," he said. Praising the Indian Prime Minister's leadership, Huang said since "Modi took over, the whole international community has shown interest in India. We have seen the new momentum has been achieved in economic development." "Made in China and 'Make in India' can work together," he said. "The new government introduced a lot of reforms and measures. We are happy to see the new momentum and hope that India will achieve progress in future and develop faster," Huang said adding that India's development will bring more opportunities to China and the region. Hectic preparations are underway on both sides to make Modi's visit a success and Huang said a number of agreements were expected to be signed during the trip. Both Huang and other officials made out a strong case for why India should join China's mega Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road project over which New Delhi has reservations specially in view of strategic concerns in Indian Ocean. In their briefings to the visiting Indian media delegation, Chinese officials said India could choose the projects both in India and the South Asian region and can work together in partnership with China. Huang also played down the recurring "incursions" by Chinese troops which have coincided with the Chinese leaders' visits to India in the last two years. "Inevitably some incidents some times take place. What is important is both sides should work together to avoid such incidents," he said. Asked whether such an incident which took place during the visits of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2012 and Xi last year would happen during Modi's visit here, Huang said the leaderships of both the countries emphasised the need for peace and tranquillity along the border and worked out mechanism to deal with such incidents. "Of course we do hope there won't be any incident. We hope that this mechanism will work well to ensure that such incidents will not occur again," he said. "During Xi's visit both sides agreed to work for a fair and a mutually acceptable solution and work together to promote peace and stability along the border area," Huang said. "This is an important consensus reached by two sides. Both sides are working closely to implement the consensus," he added. "If India, China and Nepal can work together...China and India also can promote mutual interests," the senior Chinese official said. Huang also said China wants to work with India to develop the neighbourhood. The two countries can work together to develop Nepal and Sri Lanka and benefit out of the development, he said. "It presents an opportunity for all. We can have win-win situation not a zero sum game," Huang said. China has already proposed trilateral cooperation between India, China and Sri Lanka as it readies to implement its mega Silk Road projects in the Indian Ocean over which India has reservations. This is the first time China has included Nepal too. Officials said China is discussing with India joint cooperation in South Asia to address India's strategic concerns in its neighbourhood. He also said China is addressing India's concerns over the trade deficit which according to Indian officials has touched USD 45 billion in about USD 76 billion annual trade. Huang said efforts are underway by China to provide market access to India's pharmaceutical firms with easy registration process. Liu Jinsong, the deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of International Economic Affairs, said China would like India's participation in the Silk Road projects for which the funding can be sourced from projects within India and outside from the Beijing-backed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in which India is a member, and the BRICS Development Bank. "We are waiting for India," Liu said. "If India has interest, we can have a joint MoU, if you show interest in this port or industralised zone, we can have a feasibility study and push our development bank and other commercial banks to finance these projects," he said. Liu also defended China's plans to build an economic corridor with Pakistan through disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). He said the project did not interfere in the Kashmir issue which China wants India and Pakistan to resolve. "The Karakoram highway was built 50 years ago, we are taking advantage of an old project this is not a new action. We are just doing business," he said. Asked as to why China objected to India's oil exploration projects with Vietnam in the South China Sea, Liu said, "If your exploration field is near Vietnam's coastal area no one will argue. But if you exploit a disputed area, it is a new action, so it is different." PTI

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