The Chinese government said on Friday India and China had the “capacity and wisdom” to defuse the stand-off in eastern Ladakh and differences over the boundary question.

As both countries continued to work the channels to resolve the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters here that India and China had maintained “close communication”, adding that China believed problems could be solved through “friendly consultation… to maintain peace and stability in border areas.”

Separately on Friday, the state media quoted a South Asia scholar at the elite Peking University as saying the recent tensions “may cast a shadow” on the expected visit of new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to New Delhi next month — likely to be his first overseas trip after he took over in March.

Han Hua, a South Asia scholar at Peking University, told the Party-run Global Times that “choosing India as the first stop of the Premier’s visit shows China’s will to improve ties, but that the current standoff may cast a shadow on the visit.”

“Inappropriate time”

“Reports about Chinese troops’ cross-border patrols are not rare in Indian media. However, the latest hyping came at an inappropriate time before the Premier’s visit, and it was also inappropriate to summon the ambassador,” Professor Han told the newspaper. She said “there had been speculation that New Delhi may hope to ‘fish in troubled waters’ as Beijing is caught in an island dispute with Tokyo.”

Chinese media outlets, unlike their Indian counterparts, have devoted little attention to the border row this past week. Much of the state media’s attention has been occupied with on-going tensions with Japan over the disputed Diaoyu or Senkaku islands, and the visit of U.S.A. General Martin Dempsey. China’s ties with the U.S.A. and Japan are generally accorded far more importance in the media here, particularly considering that incidents such as the Nanjing massacre continue to evoke strong emotions.

One article in the Global Times , headlined “Border spat dogs possible India visit”, quoted Zhang Yongpan, a scholar at the Research Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the official Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as saying Aksai Chin, on the western section of the border, was “less disputed because it doesn’t have many natural resources” compared to the eastern sector, where China has claims on Arunachal Pradesh.

Mr. Zhang, in the interview, referred to “the disputed region in Aksai Chin” as “an area of about 20,000 square kilometres.” India considers the area to stretch over at least 38,000 sq km, leaving some analysts puzzled as to where the remaining 18,000 sq km disappeared in the Chinese scholar’s calculation.

  • Unlike the Indian media, Chinese media devoted little attention to the border row in the last week

  • Aksai Chin less disputed because it doesn’t have many natural resources: Chinese scholar