Most Beijing analysts only expect continuity from Hu’s period in ties with the country
The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) new leader, Xi Jinping, has said that China will “pay great importance to developing relations with India,” in his first comments on the future of bilateral ties as he begins a 10-year term.
Mr. Xi, who took over as the general secretary of the CPC in November, will succeed Hu Jintao as President following the March session of the National People’s Congress, or Parliament. Little is known about how Mr. Xi plans to exert his influence on China’s foreign policy, with most analysts in Beijing expecting continuity from the Hu Jintao period in relations with India as China manages rising tensions with Japan and over the South China Sea.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that was delivered on Thursday by State Councillor and top diplomat Dai Bingguo, Mr. Xi said he was of the view that China-India relations “have maintained stable development in the past few years, which has brought about substantial benefits to the two countries and the two peoples,” according to a report released by the official Xinhua news agency on Saturday.
Mr. Xi said in the letter that “the world has enough space for China and India to achieve common development, and the world also needs common development.”
For a bright future
China, he added, “will, as it has been doing, pay great importance to developing relations with India and expects to carry out close cooperation with India to create a brighter future of their bilateral relations.”
Mr. Dai delivered the letter when he met Dr. Singh on Thursday. The Chinese diplomat was in India to attend the third meeting between the National Security Advisers of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries.
Mr. Xi’s first overseas engagement as China’s next President is expected to be a trip to South Africa in March for the next BRICS Summit, where the Chinese leader is also expected to hold talks with Dr. Singh, marking his first engagement with the top Indian leadership. Mr. Xi has, however, visited India when he was serving as a provincial leader.
Chinese officials and analysts say that boosting China’s ties with developing countries will be a focus of the Xi administration, although they added that the location of his first trip was more the outcome of scheduling factors rather than any major statement of intent.
‘Rift under check’
Xinhua quoted Mr. Dai, who will retire as China’s top diplomat in March, as saying that India and China had “efficiently controlled their disputes and differences and have pushed forward development of bilateral relations, while gradually finding a pragmatic way of maintaining friendly relationship of coexistence between them.”
He added that the next “five to 10 years” would be “a strategically important period of opportunities to develop their relations.”
The recently concluded BRICS meeting in New Delhi had underscored the rising importance of developing countries, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters on Friday.
Focus: emerging economies
“Emerging economies and developing countries across the world are rising one after the other, and becoming an important force for changing the international system, as well as engines of world economic growth,” he said. “These countries have been playing an increasingly important role in world multi-polarity and democracy of international relations, and they are also changing the international political and economic landscape.”
China was of the view that “under current circumstances, the BRICS countries should be confident in their own development path,” he said, and look to strengthen coordination in international affairs “to uphold justice and fairness” in international relations and “build new state-to-state relations in the era of globalisation.”