‘Make sure differences do not escalate into disputes’: China to India on border row

China on Tuesday said the boundary problem with India should be placed in an “proper” position in bilateral ties and the two countries should ensure that differences do not escalate into disputes.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing hopes New Delhi will work together with it to safeguard overall interests of the bilateral ties.

In a separate comment in the context of New Delhi taking steps cut down on the dependency on Chinese products, the ministry said “artificially” damaging the cooperation in business between the two countries does not serve India’s purpose.

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The ministry’s spokesperson Wang Wenbin was responding to a question at the regular ministry briefing on Tuesday on Indian external affairs minister, S Jaishankar’s interview August 2 where he said that reaching an equilibrium with Beijing is not going to be easy and that India must stand its ground and make China value India more.

Jaishankar had made it amply clear that the situation at the border and Sino-Indian ties could not be separated, indicating that peace and tranquility along the line of actual control (LAC) are mandatory for the bilateral relationship to progress.

“We have noted this report. We believe stronger solidarity and cooperation between China and India, (the) two largest developing countries and emerging economies will not only inject impetus into our respective development but also stability and positive energy to world’s peace and prosperity,” Wang said at the regular ministry briefing.

“The two should place the boundary issue in an proper position in bilateral relations and make sure differences do not escalate into disputes. I hope India will work with us in the same direction and safeguard over all interests of bilateral relations with concrete actions,” he said.

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Wang was separately asked to comment on New Delhi considering measures to prevent trade partners mainly in southeast Asia from rerouting Chinese goods to India with little added value.

Responding to the query, Wang said: “I want to stress that Chinese products to India met the demands of Indian consumers. The cooperation is mutually beneficial. Artificially damaging such cooperation doesn’t serve India’s own interests.”

Jaishankar’s interview and China’s reaction come in the backdrop of the worst state of ties between the two neighbours following the June 15 Galwan Valley clash in eastern Ladakh.

The June 15 violence was preceded and followed by a tense faceoff between Indian and Chinese border troops at multiple points along the LAC in Ladakh.

Following several rounds of diplomatic and military talks between the two countries, New Delhi has made it clear that for the situation to be normalised, the Chinese will have to completely de-escalate and move back troops to their permanent locations.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava acknowledged last week that there has been “some progress” towards disengagement and de-escalation along the LAC though the process is far from complete.

On Sunday, the latest round of commander-level talks were held on the Chinese side of the LAC.

Beijing has so far revealed no details of the talks except commenting that the disengagement was complete in most places – a claim refuted by New Delhi.

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“On August 2, China and India held the fifth round of talks at the level of military commanders and exchanged views resolving the remaining issues on the border, and on the ground, (and) continuing to push for a de-escalation of the situation,” the Chinese foreign ministry told Hindustan Times in a statement on the Sunday talks.

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