Ready to ‘accelerate’ talks to resolve border dispute: China

Beijing: On the eve of President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit, China today struck a positive note saying that both the countries have been taking positive steps to manage the border dispute and that it is ready to “accelerate” talks to resolve the vexed issue “at an early date”.

“China is ready to work with India to accelerate negotiations and resolve this historic issue at an early date to move forward bilateral relations,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, responding to Mukherjee’s remark that India wants fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement to solve the border issue.

“We will extend warm welcome to President Mukherjee,” on his first visit to China, Hua told reporters.

She said “China and India are committed to resolve territorial disputes through negotiations seeking a fair and reasonable settlement which is acceptable to all.”

“In the past three decades and more the two sides have been taking positive steps to properly manage disputes and safeguard peace and tranquility of the border area creating favourable conditions for sound and sustainable development of bilateral ties,” Hua said responding to a question on Mukherjee’s comments to Chinese media on the issue.

Mukherjee, who arrives in the Chinese industrial city of Guangzhou on a four-day visit to China tomorrow, has told Chinese media that India seeks a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the (border) question.”

He will reach Beijing on May 25 and is scheduled to hold talks with President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders.

Outlining the steps taken by India and China to resolve the dispute, Hua said so far the two countries have established a series of working mechanisms including talks at the level of Special Representatives to resolve the issue besides reaching political guidelines and three step road map.

The two sides held 19th Special Representative talks here last month. Both also reached political guidelines and three step road map, she said.

“China india emerging markets with increasing influence on the international stage. Both the countries are major force behind world peace and development. We are glad to see that in the past few years China and India have been moving forward on bilateral relations in a sound and stable way,” she said.

Recalling Xi’s 2014 visit to India which was followed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China last year, she said bilateral ties have entered a period of fast development.

“We can take that President Mukherjee’s visit this time to implement important outcomes during the previous visits of practical cooperation and forge close partnership for development,” she said.

In his interviews to the Chinese media, Mukherjee has said that “pending the boundary settlement, we seek to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas. Both sides should strive to ensure that the outstanding issues are addressed in a manner that demonstrates mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspiration,” he said.

“Only in this manner can we ensure that these differences will not come in the way of continuing development of bilateral relations. We should enhance our mutual trust and understanding through stepped up dialogue on political security and strategic issues,” Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

He also called for zero for tolerance against terrorism.

“India and China–both huge countries—multi-cultural, multi-racial–if they come together in fighting this menace, I am sure it will have its own impact,” Mukherjee said.

“And India always believes that every country should have a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism and the fight is to be all out,” he told the Chinese state run CCTV.

His comments assumed significance in the backdrop of China putting a technical hold on India’s move to ban Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad’s leader Maulana Masood Azhar for his alleged role in Pathankot air base attack which has become a major irritant in relations between the two countries.

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