China on Wednesday said its common ground and common interests with India “far outweigh” any disputes or conflicts, underscoring that the relationship between the two countries had moved on from 1962 in its first comments on the 50th anniversary of the war.
"China is ready to work with India in the spirit of looking forward," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told a regular press briefing when asked about the 50th anniversary.
He called on both countries to look to the future and "boost trust, enhance communication, expand cooperation and deepen the China-India strategic cooperative partnership for the benefit of both the countries and both peoples."
“The current world has undergone deep and profound changes,” Mr. Hong said. “As the two most populous developing countries and emerging economies, both China and India face important opportunities of development. The two countries are cooperating partners, instead of rivals. Their common ground far outweighs disputes, and common interests outnumber conflicts.”
Mr. Hong’s comments were the first official statements in China about the anniversary, with the war a much forgotten event in this country fifty years on. In sharp contrast to the current reflection in India on the events of 1962, the Chinese State-run media has been largely silent on the war.
While China’s war with Japan is a common topic for the official media, particularly in light of recent tensions between the countries over disputed East China Sea islands which sparked anti-Japan protests, State-run outlets rarely comment on either the 1962 war or China’s war with Vietnam, both conflicts in which China was the aggressor.
In the case of the war with India, one Chinese journalist at a prominent official daily indicated that there was an unofficial directive to play down the anniversary. “The message is we want to focus on good relations with India, and that the war is a sensitive issue,” the journalist said.
Mr. Hong on Wednesday said the leaders of both countries had pointed out on many occasions that “the world has enough space for the common development of China and India”.