Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attends a news conference in Beijing, China.(REUTERS)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attends a news conference in Beijing, China.(REUTERS)

Maintaining peace with India a diplomatic priority, says China amid Ladakh border tension

Zhao was responding to a question from the official Xinhua news agency on China’s current diplomatic work and its diplomatic priorities looking ahead.
Hindustan Times, Beijing | By Sutirtho Patranobis
UPDATED ON AUG 11, 2020 11:41 AM IST

Maintaining peace along the disputed boundary and deepening strategic trust with India is one of China’s diplomatic priorities, the Chinese foreign ministry has said, adding that Beijing will try to expand “shared interests” with neighbours in the future.

Responding to a query about China’s diplomatic priorities as the Covid-19 pandemic impacts the world and international diplomacy, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian briefly outlined Beijing’s plans for way ahead in bilateral ties with the US, Russia, EU, Japan, and India.

Also Read: ‘Partners, rather than rivals’: Chinese ambassador to India

“For the China-India relationship, the two sides should jointly safeguard peace and security in the border areas and maintain a steady and sound development of bilateral ties”, Zhao said.

“We will continue to deepen strategic mutual trust and expand shared interests with our neighbours and other developing countries”, he said in a statement published on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website on Monday night.

Zhao was responding to a question from the official Xinhua news agency on China’s current diplomatic work and its diplomatic priorities looking ahead.

Also Read: ‘Do not let differences overshadow relations’: China’s India envoy on ties

The Chinese official did not make any reference to the ongoing tension between India and China along the line of actual control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

The two countries have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks to de-escalate, but the process is yet to be completed.

A new statement from the Chinese foreign ministry to the Hindustan Times issued Monday indicated that the process of disengagement was not complete; the statement, however, did not share details of the situation on the ground.

The Chinese foreign ministry said the “…the frontline forces of China and India have been in close communication on controlling the situation.”

Also Read: ‘Clear who safeguards peace and who destabilises region’: China slams Australian HC’s remarks on South China Sea

“At present, the two sides have disengaged in most of the border areas and will continue to coordinate and consult through military and diplomatic channels to further ease the tension and maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas,” the statement in Mandarin said.

On July 30, India had rejected China’s contention that disengagement has been completed at most locations along their disputed border, and called on Beijing to work sincerely for complete de-escalation and full restoration of peace along the LAC.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had acknowledged there has been “some progress” towards disengagement and de-escalation along the LAC though the process is far from complete.

“There has been some progress made towards this objective, but the disengagement process has as yet not been completed,” Srivastava said during the weekly virtual media briefing.

Srivastava was reacting to China’s position, which had said earlier that frontline troops had “completed disengagement in most locations and the situation on the ground is easing”.

Also Read: On China’s outburst over Confucius centres’ review, India pulls out 2009 rulebook

HT had reported from New Delhi on July 30, quoting people familiar with developments at the border, that a sizable Chinese troop presence at friction points, particularly Pangong Lake and Depsang, remains a concern.

INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY

On the overall international situation in diplomacy, Zhao said: “Covid-19 has engulfed and impacted the whole world since its outbreak early this year”.

“We have actively planned and developed our relations with other major countries, responded rationally to the unreasonable pressure the US has piled on China, made new progress in advancing China-Russia relations under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, and sustained cooperation as the main tone of China-EU relations”, he said.

“We will continue to improve relations with neighboring countries, strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries, advocate the building of a community of common health for mankind, firmly uphold China’s sovereignty and security interests, and endeavor to fulfill the purpose of diplomacy for the people,” Zhao said.

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