China today said the border dispute with India has been “contained” as it sought stronger ties for the resolution of the vexed issue, likening it with climbing a mountain that gets “tougher” towards the summit.
Addressing his annual press conference on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s legislature, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Indian elephant and Chinese dragon should “do more” to strengthen bilateral cooperation to clinch a final settlement of the boundary issue.
“As for China-India boundary question, it is a legacy of history. We have worked on it for many years and made some progress in the boundary negotiations,” Wang said here in a nationally-televised address.
“It is like climbing a mountain…the going is tough because we are on the way up. This is all the more reason that we do more to strengthen China-India cooperation so that we can enable and facilitate the settlement of the boundary question,” he said answering a question from PTI about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expected visit and the chances of a breakthrough in boundary talks that have dragged on for years.
“The dispute has been contained. At the moment, the boundary negotiation is in the process of building up small positive developments,” Wang said in an elaborate comment on the issue ahead of the forthcoming 18th round of border talks.
He also said that a warm welcome awaited Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he makes his first visit to China later this year.
“Last September, President Xi Jinping made an historic visit to India. Picture of the two leaders working at a spinning wheel in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister, has spread far and wide in China.
“Chinese people believe in reciprocating the courtesy of others. I am sure when Prime Minister Modi visits China later this year, he will be warmly welcomed by the Chinese government and people,” he said.
Modi is expected to visit China before May 6, around the time when his government completes one year in office.
The talks to be held later this month will be the first round after the NDA took over power last year. They are taking place amid clamour on both sides that a concerted effort should be made for a final solution considering that the two countries have strong governments. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who has been designated as Special Representative of India succeeding Shivshnakar Menon, will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.
Officials say that the talks this time were expected to focus on the mutual stance regarding the over 4,000 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) where troops from both the sides conduct aggressive patrolling.
Officials say that after agreeing on the 2005 guiding principles, the two sides were in the second stage of formulating a framework for a settlement which will be followed by drawing the mutually-agreed boundary line.
China, which claims Arunachal Pradesh is part of Southern Tibet, says that the border dispute is confined to 2,000 kms mostly in the north-eastern state.
However, India asserts that the dispute covers the western side of the border, spanning to about 4,000 kms including Aksai Chin area in Ladakh occupied by China in the 1962 border war.
Invoking one of China’s erstwhile top leaders, Deng Xiaoping who said that unless India and China are developed, there will be no Asian century, Wang said: “China is prepared to work with India to implement important agreements reached by our leaders.”
“Chinese dragon and Indian elephant should join in a duet to work for the early revitalisation of two ancient civilisations, common prosperity of the two emerging markets and amicable co-existence of two large neighbours,” he said.