China on Tuesday welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement last week on peacefully resolving the border dispute, saying that Beijing was ready to work with New Delhi to address pending problems and “enhance” the strategic partnership between the countries.

Dr. Singh had said last week that he was convinced that the Chinese leadership wanted a peaceful resolution of all problems between the two countries, including the long-running border dispute. He had also blamed the media in India and China for highlighting differences between both countries, although overall relations were good.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, responding to Dr. Singh's comments, that China was “ready to work with India to enhance the China-India strategic partnership.”

"We have taken note of the statement by Prime Minister Singh,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said.

"As important neighbours to each other, China and India have maintained sound momentum in the bilateral relationship. As for the border issue left over from history, the two sides have been seeking a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through friendly consultations. Pending a final solution, the two sides are committed to maintaining peace and tranquility in border areas.”

Dr. Singh said last week that the border issue was “a long-standing problem”, but it was his “sincere hope [that] it is possible for us to find ways and means by which the two neighbours can live in peace and amity despite the persistence of the border problem.”

The two countries are scheduled to hold the fifteenth round of talks on the border issue later this year, but officials said they are yet to agree on dates. Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, Beijing’s designated special representative on the negotiations, will travel to New Delhi to hold talks with National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

The talks have made little progress so far. Following the previous round, which was held in Beijing in December last year, Mr. Menon said the negotiations had made “steady progress.”

However, the two sides are still deadlocked in the second of three stages of negotiations. They have been unable to agree on a framework, and have not yet begun the process of demarcating the border.

The first stage of talks, seen by officials as the least complicated, involved agreeing political parameters, and was concluded in 2005 with an agreement signed during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India. The final stage will involve the actual process of delineating the border in maps and on the ground.

Recent strains in the bilateral relationship, amid reports of border "incursions" by troops of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), have been blamed by both sides on differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

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