China is ready to work with India to find a comprehensible and reasonable solution to the festering border dispute Beijing said on Thursday but added at the same time that there was a “huge” dispute in Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector of the Sino-Indian border.
Reacting within hours to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interview to HT where he talked about not wanting to escalate the boundary problem to a conflict, the Chinese foreign ministry said it was both countries’ common responsibility to resolve the boundary question.
“China has always taken a positive attitude on the China-India boundary question. Last September visiting President Xi Jinping said publicly that China is confident to resolve the boundary question together with the Indian-side through friendly negotiations and maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas,” Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson, said at the regular press briefing on Thursday.
The HT interview and the Chinese reaction came a month before Modi’s visit to China expected in the middle of May. Diplomats from both countries are currently busy working out details of the visit, during which a declaration on the dispute – looming over bilateral relations and modest trade ties – is expected by many.
The Chinese government’s comments also coincide with the 7th round of Annual Defence Dialogue between China and India currently ongoing in Beijing. Led by defence secretary RK Mathur, the high-powered delegation from India will discuss how to streamline troop management along the border areas and expanding tri-service exchanges.
On the border question, Modi told HT: “In so far as the border is concerned, the most important point right now is that peace and tranquillity must not be disturbed. That would create conditions for us to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.”
Echoing Modi, Hua said: “It is common responsibility of common aspiration of the India and China to resolve the boundary question. We have made enormous efforts to this end,” Hua added.
She said both countries have exchanged views over the 18 rounds of meetings under the Special Representatives mechanism created to resolve the problem
“Progress has been made in this regard. We are willing to work with India to press ahead with the negotiations process to reach a comprehensive and reasonable solution that is acceptable to both the parties,” Hua said
But answering a separate question on the Indian government extending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Arunchal Pradesh, Hua said there was a “huge dispute” in the area
China says Arunachal is part of southern Tibet and to Beijing that appears to be the most sensitive sector in the border dispute.
“There is huge dispute in the eastern border of China-India border. This is undeniable fact,” she said.
“China always holds consistent and clear position on the China-India boundary question. The two sides should make joint efforts to maintain peace tranquility of the border area and create favourable conditions for the negotiation of the boundary question,” Hua said.