China said on Thursday the recent visit by Premier Li Keqiang to India prompted both countries to adopt a “fresh perspective” on relations by having [a] more candid engagement on outstanding problems such as the border issue and transboundary rivers.

Reviewing Mr. Li’s three-day visit to New Delhi and Mumbai, the Foreign Ministry here said the Premier’s visit — his first trip overseas — helped India and China “build up our strategic mutual trust.”

The visit “offered us a fresh strategic perspective to look at China-India relations,” Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters.

Mr. Hong said, “Premier Li did not avoid the differences between the two sides on some issues. On the contrary, he had candid discussions with his Indian counterpart and made clear his strategic intentions on issues that the Indian side is concerned with, like the boundary question, cross-border river resources and the trade imbalance.”

Mr. Li’s visit to India provided three lessons for the region on “how to realise the Asian Century,” the Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said in a commentary on Thursday.

The first takeaway, according to author Gu Xiaodong, a scholar at the Foreign Ministry-affiliated China Institute for International Studies, was that “development needs a peaceful stable, cooperative environment” and that a “beggar-thy-neighbour policy is intolerable”.

A second lesson was the “successful settlement of the ‘tent confrontation’ in Ladakh, which was “a positive case” in managing differences. The commentary pointed to persisting China-Japan relations as a “negative example,” blaming Japan’s “reckless push for nationalisation” of the contested Diaoyu or Senkaku islands as stoking tensions.

The People’s Daily commentary termed the U.S. “pivot” to Asia “the biggest external factor” shaping relations, with Asian countries increasingly needing to “change the U.S. factor to a positive one to prevent it from becoming the complicated factor of Asian differences.”

  • It helped build our strategic mutual trust,

    says China’s Foreign Ministry

  • Successful settlement of Ladakh issue a positive case in managing differences, says expert