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China wants to smoothen out border disputes

world Updated: Jun 30, 2013 02:37 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
India National Security Advisor

India and China will resolve the long-standing border dispute through peaceful negotiations and jointly seek a solution acceptable to both countries, Beijing said Saturday after top officials ended the latest round of talks on the boundary question.

National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon held talks with his newly appointed Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on Friday and Saturday on the issue. It was the 16th round of talks between special representatives (SRs) of the two countries which was instituted 10 years ago.

It was not known how close to resolution the border issue was; most diplomats privately say and academics maintain, the issue is a long way away from closure.

At the end of the talks, both sides made positive diplomatic remarks, but conveniently, made no mention about the recent incident in India’s Depsang area where Chinese troops had crossed over, pitched tents and camped for nearly three weeks.

When asked whether the Chinese had offered a plausible explanation, Menon’s official, and only, comment was they did not, adding it wasn’t asked for.

The mysterious case of the incursion happened weeks before Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India, touted by China as very important as it was his first overseas trip after taking over from Wen Jiabao in March.

But if answers and explanations were expected about the incursion, they were lost in a flurry of diplomatic niceties.

A statement from the Chinese foreign ministry release, said on Saturday: “(The two sides agree to) give full play to the (existing) mechanisms on border-related issues and maintain peace and tranquility in border areas before issues are resolved.”

They also pledged to sustain high-level interactions, enhance mutual trust and boost practical cooperation, the release said.