Let's “forever be good neighbours, good friends and good partners:” Dai

Ahead of border talks with India, China's Special Representative and State Councillor Dai Bingguo has called for both countries to settle their disputes “wisely, calmly and properly” to prevent them from becoming barriers to an expanding relationship.

Mr. Dai, who is expected to travel to New Delhi next week for the 15th round of talks on the boundary dispute, said both countries needed to “deepen political trust.” He was speaking to Indian officials at a function held here on Wednesday to inaugurate India's new embassy building.

Mr. Dai is China's top diplomat and seniormost official on foreign policy matters. He laid out a four-pronged approach to improve ties with India in a detailed address, acknowledging that gaps in understanding persisted between the neighbours.

He said both countries needed to expand “practical cooperation” in economy, trade, finance — particularly highlighting information technology — and strengthen people-to-people exchanges to “encourage our people to meet each other more often” and improve “mutual understanding.” He also called for stepping up dialogue and communication to improve political trust, and for expanding cooperation in international affairs.

“We should think and act in the interest of the overall China-India relationship,” he said. “We need to handle issues between the two countries wisely, calmly and properly and prevent them from becoming barriers between the two countries and obstacles to bilateral relations.” He highlighted the rise of China, India and other emerging countries as the most important development in a global environment that was going through “profound” changes. “We must follow the call of our times for peace and development,” he said, calling for both countries to “open up new prospects for a strategic and cooperative partnership” and “forever be good neighbours, good friends and good partners.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin said at a briefing both countries were still “in close communication over dates” for the boundary talks. “China values its relations with India and attaches great importance to resolving the boundary issue,” he said. “China believes this issue should be solved through equal consultation and negotiations. The boundary issue has been there for a long time, and should be solved through dialogue.”

Indian Ambassador S. Jaishankar said the previous year, which also saw the launching of a Strategic Economic Dialogue and a rise in trade to a record $70 billion, reflected “the strategic direction of our ties, of what is possible between the two neighbours.” He, however, warned that both countries needed to “remain continuously sensitive to mutual concerns.”

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