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Ahead of Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India on Sunday, Chinese media in Beijing on Saturday said it is difficult for the two nations to restore mutual trust without resolving border dispute though mistrust could gradually be reduced with good faith in each other's strategic intentions.
"To be honest, the two nations cannot fully restore mutual trust without resolving the border dispute, a complex issue that might linger for a while," a commentary by the state-run Xinhua news agency on Li's visit said on Saturday.
"However, the level of mistrust could be gradually reduced with good faith in each other's strategic intentions," it said.
"China adheres to the five principles of peaceful coexistence in its foreign policy, and has never sought to enhance ties with any other country at the expense of its relationship with India," it said.
As Li embarks on his three day visit to break new ground in the wake of the recent border stand off, analysts in Beijing said his fence-mending visit with initiatives to boost trade ties could also focus on the need for the settlement of the border dispute.
In its commentary, Xinhua said Li made India the first stop of his first foreign tour to send a clear signal that Beijing's new leadership prioritises enhancing ties with New Delhi despite border spats and other disputes.
"The rationale is simple: With China and India being the world's two largest developing countries and most populous nations - accounting for about 40% of the global population, a sour and bitter relationship would serve the interests of neither side," it said.
Referring to a recent meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Durban, Xinhua praised the two countries on the handling of the border stand off at the Depsang valley near Ladakh.
"Over the years, bilateral relations have withstood a host of tests, including the latest border spat. But the swift cooling-down once again shows that both nations are looking at the big picture of their ties, instead of being carried away by incidental matters," it said.
"It is obvious that both sides want fewer hostilities and confrontations in their neighbourhood and, with their primary focus on national development, need to seize the strategic growth opportunities facing them," it said.
It also hit out at the Western countries for sowing discard between the two countries.
"Those in the West who tend to see China-India ties through a prism of territorial disputes and inter-power rivalry must have forgotten the fact that their border problem is largely a legacy of Western colonialism. In the thousands of years before that, the two old civilisations rarely quarrelled for territorial issues," it said.
"The China-India relationship is more about the future than about the past. It is with such a forward-looking mind that China's new leadership has decided to take new initiatives to further deepen bilateral ties and mutual trust. Li's upcoming trip will be a crucial step in that direction," it said.
"Through the joint efforts of both sides, Sino-Indian relations will surely overcome difficulties and move forward. Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India is a significant and positive thing in the Sino-Indian relations, and will open a new chapter in Sino-Indian relations," the People's Daily commentary said.