Updated: July 15, 2016 10:10:33 am
For the first time after India pointed at China — without naming it — for blocking its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), China indicated that there is room for negotiations and a solution can be found.
Refusing to “heat up” the issue again, Liu Jinsong, Beijing’s envoy to New Delhi, said since India has not named China, why should it “rush to pick up the hat”.
In an interview to The Indian Express at his residence on Thursday, Liu, who is the Acting Ambassador, also allayed concerns of impeding trade routes in the South China Sea and said China, like India, is a “peace-loving country” and Delhi has no reason to worry about its capacity-building in national defence.
Defending China’s infrastructure-building in islands of the South China Sea, he claimed they were for providing public services, like weather forecasting, rescue and medical assistance services, to the international community.
On the Chinese putting on technical hold the UN designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a terrorist, Liu said it is “not a political hold” and is not being blocked. He also counselled India to indulge in “friendly consultations” with Pakistan – without naming it – and come to a mutually acceptable outcome.
Responding to a question on China blocking India’s membership in NSG at Seoul last month, Liu said, “This topic has been very hot last month, now it has cooled down a little bit. I don’t want to talk too much about it and heat it up again. I want to leave time and room for the diplomats to work out a solution.”
“The Indian statement”, he said, does not name China. “How do you decide that this country is China?”
Told that it had been widely reported, he said, “When India has not specifically mentioned China, why should China rush to pick up the hat?”
He said the Chinese approach on the NSG question is three-fold: “Abiding by the rules, leaving the room and space (for negotiations) and finding the route (solution).”
Asked if that can happen later this year, he said that he would not spell out a timetable. On the question of a possible quid pro quo between Chinese membership of the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) and India’s entry into NSG, he said that there is “no linkage” between the two. On India’s entry into MTCR, he said, “It is good that India is now a member of MTCR.”
On the question of Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea leading to a possible blockade of trade routes, he said, “India has expressed this concern (on Tuesday). China shares the concern. China is committed to safeguarding freedom of navigation in South China Sea… and actually, the purpose of building some facilities in some islands in SCS is to provide public good for the international community, like lighthouses, weather stations and other kinds of civilian facilities.”
“China, like India is also a peace-loving country which sticks to international law and order and good neighbourliness,” he said, and “India has no reason to worry about its capacity-building in its national defence.”
On the holding of Malabar exercises, he said it is part of India’s military cooperation with others. “If it is not targeted at China, we won’t have any problems with that. However, if any party or parties participating in the exercise want to deliberately bring the exercise to the disputed waters of South China Sea, then we will be concerned. (But) Indian side has been very cautious and has been sticking to principles, and has decided to not participate in joint patrols in the South China Sea.”
On Masood Azhar’s designation as a terrorist being blocked at the UN, the Chinese envoy said, “China, India, Pakistan are all victims of terrorist activities… there is no such thing as China blocking. (In this case) third party needs to be consulted. It is not a political hold, but a technical hold. Only a hold, not blocking.”
“I don’t know much about this person Masood… but as per rules of 1267 committee, another country, the country of origin of Masood, needs to be consulted. If you and that country can have friendly consultations and reach a mutually acceptable result, then China will be glad to go along with results.”
Diplomacy, he said, is all about “negotiating and making compromises”. “No country can have it all. You have to compromise somewhere… you need patience and need to abide by the rules,” he said.
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