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Updated: November 19, 2009 23:41 IST

Border tensions will not undermine larger relationship: China

Ananth Krishnan
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Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday described its boundary dispute with India as “the more pronounced” among its territorial problems.
File: AP Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday described its boundary dispute with India as “the more pronounced” among its territorial problems.

The Chinese government followed "a larger policy to peacefully resolve" disputes through "dialogue and consultations."

The Chinese government has described its boundary dispute with India as “the more pronounced” among its territorial problems, but expressed confidence that border tensions would not undermine the larger relationship between the two countries.

China, on Wednesday, settled another long drawn-out dispute over land with Vietnam. The two countries signed a package of agreements on the demarcation of their 1,300 km border, and also agreed to solve pending disputes over their naval boundaries through talks.

Asked if Wednesday’s settlement left the boundary question with India as Beijing’s only major pending land dispute, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: “Now, at present, the China-India boundary issue is the more pronounced one [of our territorial disputes].”

The Chinese government followed “a larger policy to peacefully resolve” disputes through “dialogue and consultations.”

Mr. Qin noted, “With Russia, Vietnam and other countries, we have signed agreements based on this principle.”

In July 2008, China reached an agreement over another complicated boundary dispute, over its 4,300 km border with Russia, after four decades of talks.

India and China have had, since 1981, 13 rounds of talks to resolve differences over the 4,000 km border. The last round was in August in New Delhi. The talks have made little progress.

Officials of both countries often sought to underplay the significance of the border dispute to bilateral ties, citing the booming trade relationship between the two countries.

But recent months have seen renewed strains in relations, with regular reports in the Indian media of aggressive patrolling by Chinese troops along the disputed border areas. Articles in China’s State-run media have accused India of stoking aggressions through a military build-up, and more recently, by approving the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, parts of which China claims.

Notwithstanding the tensions, Mr. Qin struck a positive note on Thursday on how the Chinese government viewed its ties with India.

“In recent years, with improvement and development of China-India relations, both sides recognise we should not let boundary issues undermine our greater bilateral relations,” he said. “Pending a solution, the two countries should work together to ensure peace and stability of border areas.”

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