China wants early settlement of boundary issue

New Delhi: Signalling a change in its approach in resolving the vexed boundary issue with India, China on Monday called for "redoubling" efforts to reach a settlement at "an early date".

China has for long acknowledged that the border dispute will take time since it is a "complex issue left from history."

The new Chinese President Xi Jinping had told in an interview to PTI in Beijing in March that solving border dispute will not be easy but had added "as long as we keep up friendly consultations, we can eventually arrive at a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement" pending which peace and tranquillity in the border areas should be maintained.

However, a senior Chinese official at an unusual briefing at the Indian foreign office here said the two countries need to "redouble our efforts to push forward framework negotiations (for boundary settlement) so that we can reach at a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution at an early date".

These remarks came in the backdrop of recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh which had prompted many commentators to see it as a change of track by China, which could be pushing for a faster settlement.

However, Qin Gang, Spokesperson and Director-General of Information Department in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also cautioned that "while looking at important issue of boundary, we have to bear in mind the whole picture of our developing relations. And bear in mind the interest and benefits of good and cooperative China-India relations."

Describing the incursion as "isolated" incident, Chinese officials said it showed the "well-tested effectiveness" of the mechanisms of communication between the two countries over boundary issues.

Last month, Chinese troops on April 15 intruded nearly 19 kms inside in Daulat Beg Oldi sector in Ladakh, prompting Indian troops to erect tents in front of them. The "face -to-face" situation was finally resolved after three weeks.

Asserting that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's first overseas visit to India since assuming office reflects the significance China attaches with this country, Chinese official sources said during his visit, Li will hold meetings with Indian leadership and others to know them better and, thereby, enhance bilateral ties.

The visit was also aimed at elevating bilateral business ties and will provide a platform for mutual investment cooperation between businesses of two countries, they said, adding the two sides are expected to establish a CEOs' forum among other initiatives to boost economic ties.

The officials said that to sum up, the Chinese have four major expectations from Li's visit –"to deepen our mutual understanding, promote our friendship, deepen our mutual trust and to promote our cooperation".