'India, China have wisdom to defuse row'

File photo shows a signpost at the India-China border in Bumla, Arunachal Pradesh.  

As the stand-off between India and China in eastern Ladakh continues to strain relations, the Chinese government said on Friday it believed both countries had the “capacity and wisdom” to defuse the row.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters both countries had maintained “close communication” over issues regarding the boundary, adding that China believed problems could be solved through “friendly consultation”.

Separately on Friday, 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”.

“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 [Chinese] ambassador [in New Delhi],” 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.”

Before Friday, Chinese media outlets, unlike their Indian counterparts, had devoted little attention to the border row this past week.

While the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statements have been reported in State media outlets, there has, so far, been little in the way of commentaries or analysis, even in newspapers such as the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid that usually devotes considerable space to covering India-China relations.

Much of the State media’s attention has been occupied with on-going tensions with Japan over the disputed Diaoyu or Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. China’s relations with Japan generally occupy greater importance for media outlets, particularly considering that the history of strained ties and incidents such as the Nanjing massacre continue to evoke strong emotions.

Ms. Hua, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told reporters at a regular briefing on Friday she believed India and China “have the willingness to properly resolve relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation”.

“I want to stress here once again the two countries have maintained close communication on border issues, and both countries, we also believe, have the capacity and wisdom to solve the issue through friendly consultations, so as to maintain peace and stability in border areas.”

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Thursday he would go ahead with his scheduled visit to Beijing on May 9, which is expected to lay the groundwork for the Chinese Premier’s visit next month. Ms. Hua said, in response to a question, she, as yet, had no specific information on Mr. Khurshid’s visit.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 3:09:11 PM |

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