Free Press Journal

Ready to work with India to settle border dispute: China


Beijing: Ahead of the 17th round of Sino- India talks on the contentious boundary issue, China today said it is ready to achieve an early and mutually acceptable deal to make border areas a “bridge and bond” between them.

“An early settlement serves the interests of both China and India. It is a strategic objective set by the two governments,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here.

India and China will hold their 17th round of Special Representative talks on the boundary issue in New Delhi on February 10-11, the first meeting since the countries inked the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) last year.

The talks will be led by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

“China is ready to work with the Indian government to advance the process of negotiations so as to achieve a fair and reasonable framework acceptable to both sides in order to make the border areas into a bridge and bond between the two peoples to facilitate their exchanges and communication,” Hong said.

He was responding to a question that talks have not achieved anything significant since 2005 when the two countries signed an agreement on political parameters to resolve the boundary issue.

Hong said the two sides have done a lot of work to resolve the vexed dispute during the last 16 rounds of talks.

“The boundary question between India and China is a left- over from history. Over the years, the two sides have done a lot of work to achieve a settlement of the issue.

“On an adhoc level, we have exchanged in-depth views on the issue and positive progress has been achieved” during 16 rounds of talks since 2003 when the mechanism of the Special Representatives meeting was established, he said.

“The two sides have reiterated that the boundary question should not overshadow the overall development of the bilateral relations,” he said elaborating on efforts by both the counties not to let the dispute impede the progress of bilateral ties.

“Pending the final settlement of the boundary question, the two sides should work to uphold peace and tranquillity of the border areas,” he said.

After last year’s talks to resolve the dispute over the boundary spanning about 4,000 km, the two countries have been speaking about expediting the solution.

In September last year, both sides signed the BDCA to address the issues between the troops patrolling the disputed sections of the boundary to avert incidents like intrusion by Chinese troops into Depsang Valley near Ladakh.

The deadlock over boundary dispute is related to the demarcation of boundaries in Aksai Chin in the Ladakh sector and Arunachal Pradesh, that China refers to as southern Tibet.

After last year’s talks here Menon said both sides are discussing a framework to resolve the “most complex” dispute.

The boundary talks are currently in the second stage of a three-stage process. Both sides signed an agreement on political parameters in 2005, and are now negotiating a framework to resolve the dispute in all sectors.

Officials say the final stage involves delineating the border in maps and on the ground.

Besides the border dispute, the talks cover the entire gamut of the bilateral relations.