On the eve of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's talks with the Indian leadership in New Delhi, Beijing has indicated that it sought an early but fair settlement of the vexed Sino-Indian border issue on which "positive progress" has been achieved.
"The early settlement of the unresolved boundary issue is one of the ten strategies to enhance China-India Strategic and Cooperative partnership," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu said.
"The border talks between China and India have generated positive progress in recent years," Jiang said without elaborating when asked to comment on the political negotiations between the Special Representatives of the two countries to work out a package solution to the border dispute.
During Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India last November, the two sides agreed to accelerate the process of boundary negotiation.
"In line with the consensus between the two leaders, the Special Representatives on boundary issues of the two sides will intensify their work to seek for a fair, rational framework acceptable to both in accordance with the political guiding principle so as to solve the issue in the end," Jiang commented.
Asked on Li's agenda in New Delhi, the spokeswoman said the main goal is to translate the achievements of two high-level meetings into real benefits.
Foreign Minister Li will also exchange views with India on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest, and draw up the blueprints for the development of bilateral ties this year.
The Chinese Foreign Minister, who is at present in Nalanda, will later travel to New Delhi for official talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Li will also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Asked whether China will agree for the setting up of a 'hot line' between the two Foreign Ministers, she replied in the affirmative.
"At present the two sides are having friendly consultation on the hotline between the Foreign Ministers. We hope to reach an agreement during Foreign Minister Li's visit to India," she said.
During his stay in India, Li will also attend the completion ceremony of "Renovated Memorial House for Hsuan Tsang" and the opening ceremony of "2007 China-India Tourism and Friendship Year" in New Delhi.
Jiang also noted that China and India have maintained close high-level exchanges of visits and contacts in recent years.
It has played an irreplaceable important role to build mutual trust, deepen understanding, and promote cooperation in various fields, she noted.
"China looks forward to Prime Minister Singh's visit to China later this year. We believe this visit will further deepen and expand China-India Strategic and Cooperative Partnership. China attaches importance to this visit and stands ready to make joint efforts with India to make this visit a success," Jiang said.
Asked to comment on criticism in India about the Chinese anti-satellite missile test, Jiang maintained that Beijing has not violated any international treaty by conducting the test.
"China all along upholds the peaceful use of outer space and opposes weaponisation and arms race in outer space. China has never participated and will not participate in any form of arms race in outer space. The test is not targeted at any country," she said on the January 11 test.
"It does not pose a threat to any country, nor does it violate any international treaty," Jiang stressed while deflecting international concern on the anti-satellite missile test.