China on Monday reacted sharply to an India-US joint statement referring to the disputes in the South China Sea, saying that only the involved countries should work together to resolve the problems.
The reaction from the Chinese foreign ministry to the “US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region” was brief but sharp.
“We have made our position clear on this issue many times. China is staunch supporter promoter and contributor to regional peace and stability. We believe relevant disputes should be resolved by parties directly concerned through peaceful talks and consultation,” Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson said at the regular press briefing on Monday.
China is involved in maritime disputes with several countries in the South and East China seas over the ownership islands, said to be sitting huge reserves of oil and gas.
Hua said China was closely following President Barack Obama’s visit to India and hoped that it could contribute to peace and prosperity.
“At the current stage, the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable and there is no problem with navigational freedom and freedom of flights,” she said.
“Regional prosperity depends on security. We affirm the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea,” the Indo-US statement said on the situation.
On the issue of India joining the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), she said India was welcome to join the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) provided New Delhi fulfils all the required conditions.
“New members have to follow certain rules,” Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson, said at the regular press briefing on Monday.
Hua added that the expansion of the group, of which China is a member, needed detailed discussions and consensus among the members.
Hua said the inclusion of new members will require “prudence and caution” and “thorough discussion” on the part of the existing ones.
China, she said, supports the inclusion of India in the group but only if New Delhi fulfils requirements.
According to the website of the group, the NSG is an organisation of “...nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.”
Hua played down the thinking in certain circles in China that the US was attempting to use India to contain China.
“I do not think that kind of cold war mentality will work in the 21st century. And, India too is unlikely to be part of any such alliance,” Hua said.
She added that Indo-China relations have seen a major upswing in the last one year. With foreign minister Sushma Swaraj slated to be in Beijing later this week, that bilateral interaction between the two countries is likely to intensify.
'China is delighted with India’s achievements'
Top Chinese leaders on Monday congratulated their Indian counterparts on the occasion of 66th Republic Day, pledging closer ties.
In his message to Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Chinese President Xi Jinping said both China and India, as two ancient civilizations, were pursuing a “great dream of national rejuvenation”.
Xi was quoted by the official news agency, Xinhua as telling Mukherjee that China was “delighted” with India’s achievements.
“Noting this year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Xi said China is willing to make concerted efforts with India to lift their strategic cooperative partnership oriented to peace and prosperity to a higher level,” the Xinhua report said.
In a message to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that in recent years, China and India have kept a stronger momentum in joining hands for cooperation and seeking common development.
China is ready to work with India to deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and build a closer partnership of development, he said.