The “phase of emergency response since the Galwan Valley incident” has “basically come to an end” and the border situation is now switching to “normalised management and control”, China’s ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, has said.
Sun has also linked the Taiwan question and Tibet-related issues by expressing hope that India can “properly handle issues related to China’s core interests”.
This is a significant framing, as Beijing has, for the first time, sought to link its redline on Taiwan with the India-China border situation.
Speaking at a virtual event to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday, organised by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi — the speech was released on Wednesday — Sun said, “The current border situation is overall stable. The phase of emergency response since the Galwan Valley incident has basically come to an end, and the border situation is now switching to normalised management and control.”
“The Chinese side is willing to maintain dialogues via diplomatic and military channels with the Indian side, and together seek solution to the border issues in a peaceful manner through dialogue and consultation,” he said. “It is hoped that the Indian side can properly handle issues related to China’s core interests, including [the] Taiwan question and Xizang-related issues,” he said.
The Chinese refer to Tibet as “Xizang”.
Sun also said, “According to the consensus reached in the 16th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Chinese and Indian troops in the area of Jianan Daban have completed disengagement.” The Chinese called the Gogra-Hot Springs area as Jianan Daban.
Last month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that the state of the border will determine the state of India-China relationship. He also said that for ties to return to a positive trajectory and remain sustainable, they must be based on three mutuals: mutual sensitivity, mutual respect, and mutual interest.
A day after Indian and Chinese troops completed the disengagement process at Patrolling Point-15 in Gogra-Hot Springs region of Ladakh earlier this month, Jaishankar had called it “one problem less on the border”.
Talking about properly handling differences and sensitive issues, the Chinese ambassador said, “Neighbouring countries cannot move away. It is normal for neighbouring countries to have differences, what matters is how we see and deal with it. As in China’s perspective, our countries’ common interests far outweigh differences. We should not seek minor gains at great cost, or let the differences define bilateral relationship.”
As two ancient oriental civilisations, he said, China and India have the wisdom and capability to respect each other, seek common grounds while reserving differences, refrain from interfering in each other’s internal affairs, and properly handle the differences.
“For issues that can be resolved, we should actively seek solutions; for issues that cannot be resolved at the moment, we should put them in a proper place and manage them in a proper way, without allowing them to disturb the overall development of the bilateral relations,” he said.
This year, he said, “China-India relations have made new progress and shown positive momentum.”
India and China have differences over how to proceed further in the relationship. While New Delhi has maintained that the bilateral ties cannot be normal until the border situation is resolved, Beijing has always said that the border situation should be managed in a proper way, without allowing them to disturb the overall development of the bilateral relations. The Chinese envoy’s comments underline that point, but also make it clear that there are redlines on Taiwan and Tibet.
Sun also listed out the developments: “President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to President Droupadi Murmu on her inauguration. Both of our leaders attended the BRICS and SCO summits. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a working visit to India, and the two foreign ministers exchanged in-depth views on improving bilateral relations several times. According to the consensus reached in the 16th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting, Chinese and Indian troops in the area of Jianan Daban have completed disengagement.
“We optimized the visa application process for Indian citizens to travel to China and resumed processing visa applications for students pursuing long-term study, and people conducting business, work and family visits. We have arranged 2 charter flights in the past two months carrying 235 Indian businessmen back to Zhejiang Province of China.”
As a “next step”, he said, “We should maintain the recovery momentum of bilateral relations, look forward and move ahead, so as to promote China-India relations back to the right track and ensure a long-term and steady relationship.”