China on Monday asserted that it had never waged a war to occupy “an inch of land of other countries”, two days after BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi slammed the country for its “expansionist mindset”.
“You mentioned expansionism by the Chinese side. I believe all of you can see that China has never waged a war of aggression to occupy an inch of land of other countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters while responding to questions on Mr. Modi’s remarks.
“We always reiterate that we take real actions to commit through the peaceful development path” and are committed to good neighbourliness and cooperative relations, she said.
“There has never been any armed clashes in border areas over the years. So there is very strong evidence that we have the capability to maintain peace there. This is very good for the future development of the bilateral relations,” she said, highlighting that there was no major confrontation at Sino-Indian borders after the 1962 war.
“It is not only good for our two people but also to the whole region,” Ms. Hua said, adding that “we hope to work together with our Indian counterpart to that end”.
Mr. Modi, at a rally in Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday, asked China to shed its “expansionist mindset”.
“China should shed its expansionist policy and forge bilateral ties with India for peace, progress and prosperity of both the nations,” he said.
“Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and will always remain so. No power can snatch it from us. People of Arunachal Pradesh didn’t come under pressure or fear of China,” Mr. Modi said.
Responding to Mr. Modi’s remarks, Ms. Hua said, “our position on the Eastern sector of the boundary is very consistent and clear cut. We would like to develop good neighbourliness and friendly relations with our neighbours and resolve relevant disputes and differences through dialogue and consultations.”
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet and it is part of the dispute over the 4000 km-long Line of Actual Control between the two countries.
Ms. Hua said currently China and India are maintaining good momentum of bilateral relations.
“The two leaders have degree of consensus on the significance of growing bilateral relations. We hope to settle the boundary negotiations as soon as possible,” she said.
Stating that the India-China Boundary dispute is a leftover from history, Ms. Hua said, “That our two countries have a dispute and differences on the boundary question is a fact that is clear to all to see.”
Asserting that both India and China are committed to resolving the boundary dispute through peaceful negotiations, Ms. Hua highlighted the Special Representatives mechanism, headed by National Security Advisor Shivsankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, which held 17th round of border talks in New Delhi this month.
“Positive progress has been made (at the talks) and both sides spoke very highly of the positive outcomes of the meeting,” she said.
Both countries are working hard to resolve relevant differences through friendly dialogue and consultations and “this point is beyond any doubt and any question. China has proven this with its real action,” Ms. Hua said.
The boundary issue is very sensitive and complicated. It cannot be solved overnight with few meetings or consultations, she stressed.
“There is one point that is clear that both China and India have made clear their resolve that is to carry out relevant negotiations and dialogue to peacefully resolve disputes, so as to find a mutually acceptable framework.
Pending that both countries will commit to peace and tranquillity,” Ms. Hua said.
“Now we want to maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas with relevant parties in India,” she added.