Chinese state media cautiously welcomes India-China joint statement

Nationalist tabloid Global Times argues that the joint statement will end up as merely “paper talk” if India did not follow-up.
An Indian Air Force fighter jet takes off from an airbase in Leh on September 9.(AFP)
An Indian Air Force fighter jet takes off from an airbase in Leh on September 9.(AFP)
Updated on Sep 11, 2020 05:20 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Beijing | BySutirtho Patranobis

Chinese state media on Friday cautiously welcomed the five-point consensus reached by Indian and Chinese foreign ministers in Moscow to defuse the ongoing border tension but said it was New Delhi’s responsibility to ensure the final positive outcome.

Most official media carried a report by the state news agency, Xinhua on the meeting between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting of foreign ministers in Moscow on Thursday.

It said the two agreed that the current situation in the border areas “is not in the interest of either side.”

“They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions.”

Jaishankar and Wang had “held full, in-depth discussion with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on the situation in the border areas as well as bilateral ties here on Thursday,” the Xinhua report said.

It quoted Wang as saying that it is normal for China and India to have differences as two neighbouring major countries.

“What is important is to put these differences in a proper context vis-a-vis bilateral relation,” the report said, quoting the senior Chinese official.

Also Read: India, China differences remain despite five-point consensus on easing tensions

State-run hawkish nationalist tabloid Global Times carried opinion pieces, saying the ball is now in New Delhi’s court to resolve the tensions.

In an editorial published ahead of the meeting, the tabloid said Beijing’s talks with India “come with war preparedness”.

On the outcome of the bilateral meeting, the tabloid said it exceeded the “expectations of most international observers and created favorable conditions for a possible future meeting between the leaders of the two countries”.

The article then quickly changed track to say the “successful implementation of the joint statement, however, depends on whether the Indian side can truly keep its word.”

Quoting experts, it argued that it is possible that the joint statement will end up as merely “paper talk,” if India did not follow-up.

“We should not only observe what India says, but also what it does. For a country like India, the most important thing is how it acts,” it quoted Hu Zhiyong, from the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, as saying.

In a separate opinion piece, the tabloid’s editor Hu Xijin claimed the border tension is a result of the aggressive attitude of the Indian army.

“The meeting between the two foreign ministers maintained the political communication channels between the two sides under the current critical situation. However, due to the huge differences in the understanding of the actual border control line between the two sides, the Indian army adopted an aggressive stance on the ground,” Hu wrote in a commentary published in Mandarin.

“The two foreign ministers eased the political situation. Whether the wishes can be implemented on the spot is uncertain,” he added.

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