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Beijing hopes to build trust, address issues

Ahead of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's four-day visit, China has sought a solution to the border dispute, reports Reshma Patil.

world Updated: Jun 04, 2008 08:34 IST
Reshma Patil

A day before External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's four-day visit to China, Beijing said it sought to "build up trust" and discuss a "fair, reasonable and acceptable" solution to its boundary dispute with India.

"Both sides attach great importance to this visit," said China's foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang on Tuesday. "The two sides have a consensus that both are important neighbours and partners. The two will not regard each other as a threat."

Qin said China believes that before resolving the border issue, the two sides should jointly safeguard "stability and peace" in the border region to avoid disrupting the development of bilateral relations.

Mukherjee, who will also meet Prime Minister Wen Jiabao this week, will be India's first external affairs minister to visit China since 2002.

There have been several sensitive developments in bilateral issues since January, when the two nations unveiled a shared vision during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's landmark visit to Beijing.

China blames the Dalai Lama for "instigating" anti-China Tibetan protests in March, and for "sabotaging" the Beijing Olympics. There have been recent reports of China staking claim to a tip of Sikkim, and the two sides continue to simmer over Arunachal Pradesh.

Special representatives of both nations have held 11 rounds of dialogue on the boundary issue. "In recent years, the discussion has made some progress," said Qin.