Border situation moving towards being ‘normalised’, says Chinese envoy

In speech on PRC’s 73rd founding day, Ambassador Sun Weidong calls for closer cooperation, New Delhi to respect China’s “core interests” on Taiwan and Tibet

September 28, 2022 11:45 pm | Updated September 29, 2022 09:30 am IST - New Delhi

Sun Weidong has called for better people-to-people ties between India and China. File

Sun Weidong has called for better people-to-people ties between India and China. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The situation at the Line of Actual Control is moving towards being “normalised”, claimed the Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong, as he called for India and China to work more closely together to resolve differences, in a speech marking the 73rd anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese Ambassador’s assertion comes weeks after the two sides agreed to disengage at Patrolling Point (PP) 15 at the LAC, one of several “friction points” where PLA soldiers transgressed and have amassed troops since April 2020.

“The current border situation is overall stable,” Mr. Sun said in the virtual address, the text of which was released by the Chinese embassy on Wednesday. “The phase of emergency response since the Galwan Valley incident has basically come to an end, and the border situation is now switching to normalised management and control,” he added in the speech, that was at some variance to comments last week where Army chief General Manoj Pande said there were still more friction points, a reference to Demchok and Depsang, at the LAC where disengagement was necessary, before the two sides could “look at the next step of de-escalation”, requiring the pullback of troops and tanks.

Mr. Sun went on to say that China was prepared to seek a solution to the LAC situation through further dialogue and consultation, but that he hoped India would address China’s “core interests” that included the Taiwan question and Xizang (Tibet) related issues. In comments to journalists that The Hindu had reported in August, the Chinese Ambassador had called for India to articulate its commitment to the “One China” policy, which New Delhi has not done since 2010, understood to be a signal to China over its claims on Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.

Echoing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s comments at the SCO summit in Samarkand, Mr. Sun said that China would “support” India to host both the SCO and the G-20 summits.

Both President Xi and PM Modi had attended the SCO summit, but had not held any bilateral meeting or acknowledged each other publicly.

Calling 2022 a year where “China-India relations have made new progress and shown positive momentum”, Mr. Sun said that during the year President Xi had sent greetings to President Droupadi Murmu as she took office. The letter was one of the rare high-level communications between Delhi and Beijing since the 2020 standoff began. He also counted the BRICS summit and SCO summit, which the leaders attended as well as the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Delhi in April and other occasions where he and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met to “exchange in-depth views on improving bilateral relations.

Calling for more travel between the two countries to build people-to-people ties, Mr. Sun said the Chinese Embassy had begun facilitating visas for Indian students and businessmen, and had organised two chartered flights. He added that China was “willing to resume” direct commercial flights between the two countries, suspended since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also called for more economic cooperation, and in a veiled reference to Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate raids on Chinese companies, said he hoped the “Indian side can provide an open, inclusive, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises.”

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“We believe that only when the roti is bigger, can it be shared with more people. Only when the plate is bigger, can it hold more rice. We should joint hands to bake a bigger roti and make a bigger plate, to let more people benefit from it, rather than make the roti smaller or break the plate,” Mr. Sun said.

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