China has said the vexed border dispute with India and some “emerging new issues” pose a “major challenge” to the development of bilateral ties.
“As the two neighbouring countries, China and India have historical issues such as the border dispute and also some emerging new issues with the development of the relations between the two countries. How to deal with these issues is a major challenge for the relationship between the two countries,” Chinese Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Li Huilai said.
“The two sides have agreed to strengthen communication and dialogue, and to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through friendly consultations, and to manage and control these issues so that the overall development of the relationship between the two countries is not affected,” he told PTI.
The Minister, however, did not specify what are the “emerging new issues” faced by the two countries.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was on a five-day visit to China last week, had said on Friday that the differences between India and China on the boundary issue and other matters may have “some marginal effect” on bilateral trade but businesses between the two sides have been expanding.
The two countries held talks in April 2016 to resolve the vexed border dispute. While China claims the border dispute is confined to 2,000 kilometres, mainly Arunachal Pradesh in eastern sector which it claims as part of southern Tibet, India asserts the dispute covered the whole of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) including the Aksai Chin occupied by China during the 1962 war.
The Chinese Assistant Minister also said that the main task that lies ahead for both China and India is to implement the consensus between leaders of both countries and strengthen the good momentum of the development in their ties.
“Over the past years, China and India have kept their relationship developing in a sound and steady manner. The leaders of the two countries have successfully exchanged visits and met repeatedly, reaching an important consensus on deepening the strategic partnership between China and India and building a closer partnership for development,” said Li.
Asked why Beijing blocked India’s bid to get Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN, he said, “China supports the fight against terrorism in all forms and advocates strengthening international counter-terrorism cooperation. We support the UN in playing a central coordinating role in the international counter-terrorism campaign.”
“The Chinese side always follows facts and fairly handles the listing matter of the 1267 Committee in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and rules of procedure. China is in sound communication with all parties including India on this matter. We also encourage direct communication of the parties concerned and enhancing mutual understanding, and work to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation,” Li said.
Replying to a question on China’s opposition to India’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), when most of its members, including the US, are in its favour, he said, “NSG members remain divided on the NSG membership of non-NPT countries. Therefore, we call for further and thorough discussions within the group in order to make decisions based on consultation.”
“China’s position applies to all non-NPT countries and targets no one in particular. The fact is that many countries within the group also share China’s stance,” he said.