Border situation is stable, says China Foreign Minister

Border situation is stable, says China Foreign Minister

Qin Gang says both sides should draw lessons from history and embark on a new path of harmonious coexistence; India maintains that this is possible only after LAC disengagement is completed

The situation along the India-China border is “generally stable” and both sides should “draw lessons from history”, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in talks on Thursday, May 4, 2023.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in a statement on the talks released early on Friday, May 5, said Mr. Qin “pointed out that the current situation on the China-India border is generally stable” and “the two sides should continue to implement the important consensus between the leaders of the two countries, consolidate the achievements made, strictly abide by the relevant agreements and protocols, promote further cooling and easing of the border situation, and maintain sustainable peace and tranquillity in the border area.”

Mr. Jaishankar on Thursday said he had “a detailed discussion with State Councillor and FM Qin Gang of China on our bilateral relationship” and the “focus remains on resolving outstanding issues and ensuring peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” following their talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Benaulim, Goa.

Mr. Qin and other Chinese officials have described the border situation as being “stable” and moving to what they have called normalised management, and asked India to place the issue in an “appropriate” position in the relationship.

Indian officials have reiterated their view that relations with China still remained “abnormal” and have called for urgency in completing the disengagement process in two remaining friction areas in Depsang and Demchok. China has dragged its feet in the slow-moving disengagement talks that have continued for three years. Both sides have disengaged in five areas, creating buffer zones in some of them.

‘Lessons from history’

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of troops remain in forward areas. India has also called for de-induction of these troops and de-escalation to return to the April 2020 status quo, which China has rejected.

Mr. Qin described both countries as “as the two most populous developing countries in the world, and both are in a critical period of modernisation.”

“We should draw lessons from history, approach our bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, respect, learn from and make achievements from each other, and embark on a new path of harmonious coexistence, peaceful development and common rejuvenation among major neighbours, so as to lend impetus to national rejuvenation and inject stability and positive energy into world peace and development,” he said.

“China is willing to work with India to carry out bilateral consultations and exchanges, enhance dialogue and cooperation under the multilateral framework, deepen coordination and cooperation on international and regional issues, and promote China-India relations to return to a healthy and stable development track,” he added.

India has, however, maintained that would only be possible if the LAC disengagement is completed and peace is restored on the borders.

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