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 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, 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 in the border areas," Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson, said at the regular press briefing.
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 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.
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 tranquility must not be disturbed. That would create conditions for us to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution."
Echoing Modi, Hua said: "It is the common responsibility of India and China to resolve the boundary question. We have made enormous efforts to this end."
She said both countries have exchanged views over the 18 rounds of meetings under the Special Representatives mechanism created to resolve the problem. Answering a separate question on India extending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Arunachal Pradesh, Hua said there was a "huge dispute" in the area.