The visit of President Pratibha Patil will provide an opportunity for India and China to upgrade and deepen their engagement, and help bilateral ties turn the corner following a year of strains over the border dispute, Chinese officials said on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the five-day visit of Ms. Patil, who will meet with the Chinese leadership here on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said China was “happy” with the development of bilateral relations, which had entered into a phase of “stability” and “steady progress.”

“In recent years, China-India relations have been developing in a comprehensive and fast manner as evidenced by frequent high-level visits, with deepening mutual trust and progress in cooperating on major international and regional issues,” Ms. Jiang said.

Chinese officials say ties have improved following last December's climate summit at Copenhagen, where India and China closely coordinated their negotiating positions. The previous year, in contrast, saw persisting strains over the long-running border dispute, over which talks have made little progress. “The two sides have maintained close contact and communication,” Ms. Jiang added. “We are happy with the development of bilateral relations, and that our relations have entered into a period of stability and steady progress.”

Asked about the border-related tensions of last year, Ms. Jiang said the two countries had committed themselves to ensuring peace and stability in the border areas, while deepening cooperation in other fields.

Keywords: Pratibha PatilIndiaChina

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