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Border issue to figure in Khurshid’s China visit

A day ahead of foreign minister, Salma Khurshid's visit to Beijing, China on Wednesday called for the timely resolution of the prickly border issue that till the beginning of this week had soldiers from both countries staring eyeball-to-eyeball on the cold mountains of Ladakh since the middle of April. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

world Updated: May 09, 2013 01:03 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

A day ahead of foreign minister, Salma Khurshid's visit to Beijing, China on Wednesday called for the timely resolution of the prickly border issue that till the beginning of this week had soldiers from both countries staring eyeball-to-eyeball on the cold mountains of Ladakh since the middle of April.

On Sunday, after three-weeks of the tense standoff and hectic parleys, both sides called truce and withdrew to positions pre-April 15.

Expectedly, he border issue is likely to top the agenda when Khurshid meets counterpart, Wang Yi soon after arriving in Beijing on Thursday.

The Indian foreign minister's visit is also a precursor to Premier Li Keqiang's expected visit to India later in May.

Khurshid's full engagement wasn't officially announced but he would probably meet Premier Li or one of the seven members of the elite Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Thursday.

On Friday, he is expected to meet State Councillor and former foreign minister, Yang Jiechi.

Both sides will be careful not to court any controversy during the visit; after the standoff, neither side possibly wants more controversy to further cloud Khurshid's visit coming as it is in the background of the dispute.

China, however, made it a point to talk about the disputed border on Wednesday.

"Proper and timely settlement of border issues serves the common interests of both the countries and is also their common aspiration," Hua Chunying, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, told the daily news briefing on Wednesday.

"On the border issue we all know under the joint efforts of the two sides, competent authorities of the two countries have reached consensus on the incident occurred in the western section of the boundary and properly handled it," Hua added.

"The handling of the incident also shows that the two countries agreed to protect the safety and security and peace of border areas and it is also the result of joint efforts.

We would like to continue to work with the Indian side to safeguard peace and stability of the border areas for sound and steady development of China and India relations," she said.

On bilateral relations, Hua said Khurshid's visit is likely to strengthen it.

"China always believes that China and India are important developing countries and emerging economies. The sound and steady development of bilateral relationship serves the common interests of both the countries and people and also contribute to Asian and world peace and prosperity," she said.

Hua added that under the joint efforts of the two sides the two countries relations have made continuous progress with increasing political mutual trust and productive cooperation across the board as well as good cooperation and coordination in international and regional affairs.

"China hopes that this visit by the foreign minister Khurshid will push forward bilateral relations," she added.