China says disputes not to prevent cooperation with India

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Guangzhou
  • Updated: May 23, 2016 17:27 IST
China said Guangzhou was chosen as the first stop for Mukherjee on India’s request. (PTI File)

Despite outstanding historical issues like the border problem, India and China have reached a consensus to prevent disputes from clouding cooperation and stalling bilateral development, Beijing has said in the run-up to President Pranab Mukherjee’s upcoming four-day visit beginning Tuesday.

Both India and China have the “ability and wisdom” to negotiate and properly handle existing problems between the two countries, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told HT.

“Historical problems such as boundary issues still remain between the two countries. It’s an important consensus to prevent the disputes from affecting the development of the two countries. We believe both countries have the ability and wisdom to properly handle related issues, and continue to strengthen cooperation in various areas so as to ensure greater development of bilateral ties,” Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson, told HT in a written statement.

Mukherjee will arrive in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, China’s richest and most populous province on Tuesday.

Guangzhou is home to some 5,000 Indians who are mostly into commodity trading.

After attending a reception of the Indian community, a business forum and a visit to the Hualin temple with ancient Buddhist ties to India in Guangzhou, Mukherjee will fly to Beijing a day later, where he has a series of bilateral meetings beginning with President Xi Jinping.

This is Mukherjee’s first state visit to China as President and the first by an Indian President since 2010.

The foreign ministry did not respond to specific questions on the latest problems like China blocking India’s bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the controversy over Beijing’s stubborn stand on Indian attempts to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar a terrorist.

These are questions Mukherjee is likely to raise during his meetings, but the Chinese ministry said insisted that bilateral ties have entered a new era of development.

“The China-India relationship has maintained a good momentum of healthy and stable development in recent years, the ties between the two countries entered a new era of rapid growth since President Xi visited India in 2014 and Indian PM Narendra Modi visited China in 2011,” Hua said.

“As rising powers in rapid development, both China and India are having increasing influence in regional and international arena, and have become major forces for the maintenance of world peace and stability. We would like to work with India to implement the important consensus between the leaders and the outcomes of practical cooperation, as well as establish a stronger partnership of development,” she said.

Hua said Guangzhou was chosen as the first stop for Mukherjee on India’s request.

“Guangzhou serves as a window of China’s reform and opening-up policy. During President Xi Jinping’s visit to India, Guangzhou and India’s city Ahmedabad established sister-city relationship. President Mukherjee will visit Guangzhou at the request by the India side. We believe the visit will further promote regional interaction and cooperation in various fields,” she said.

As per diplomatic tradition, the leaders of the two countries are expected to exchange gifts during the visit.

“If China gives a gift, it will be a symbol of friendship between the two countries,” Hua said.

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