China has pitched for a two-track approach to strengthen bilateral relations with India, advocating patience in resolving the sticky border dispute and simultaneously deepening economic and cultural ties between the two countries.
Senior officials in China’s army as well as its foreign ministry insisted that keeping the spotlight on the border issue would make it more difficult to reach an amicable settlement.
Ma Jisheng, deputy director general of the foreign ministry’s information division, said the border issue was already a “difficult” one to resolve. And a solution would be made more difficult if the spotlight remains on this tricky issue.
Instead, Ma — who had foreign ministry officials handling relations with India by his side — argued that a two-track approach was the best course forward for both countries. “One track is to continue the negotiation of the border issues. The other is to expand cooperation in other fields,” he told a group of visiting Indian journalists.
This was a sentiment echoed at interactions with officials of the Chinese military as well with whom the group of Indian journalists interacted at the invitation of the state-run All China Journalists’ Association.
Ma as well as officials at China’s ministry of national defence and other security-related institutions, called for deepening cooperation. “If we can make the cake of cooperation bigger... the border issue will become easier to solve,” Ma said, advising against haste.
Maj Gen Yao Yunzhu of the PLA Academy of Military Science made the same point at another interaction: “We have many things between our two countries. The border issue is only one of them and the more difficult one to solve.”