China asks India to ‘meet halfway’ in ties amid border dispute talks

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China has urged India to meet it ‘halfway’ and bring more support for people as the two sides engage in dialogue to stablise the situation following deadly border clashes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

China stands in a firm position to solve border disputes through dialogue and consultations and at the same time is determined to safeguard its own sovereign interests, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at news conference on Sunday.

Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours soured last June when 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed in a Himalayan border fight. Recent talks have eased tension.

A bilateral accord prevents the use of guns by either side, and brutal clashes between the two sides on the ill-defined border often involve sticks, rocks and fist-fights.

Border issues are not the whole of China-India relationship, Wang said, noting that what happened again proves that initiating confrontation will not solve the problem, and that returning to peaceful negation is the right way forward.

The China-India relationship is essentially about how the world’s two largest developing countries get along and pursue development and rejuvenation together, Wang said, urging the Indian side to meet China half-way and bring more support for people of both countries.

India and China fought a border war in 1962 and have long accused each other of seeking to cross their frontier – which has never been properly agreed – in India’s Ladakh region, just opposite Tibet.

Beijing and New Delhi had sent tens of thousands of extra troops to the border amid rise in tension, but said last month they had agreed to “disengage” along the border area.

‘Undaunted support for BRI’

China’s commitment in supporting the Belt and Road Initiative has not changed, and the country will continue to work with stakeholders to advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, FM Wang said.

Covid-19 may have changed the world, but the need for Belt and Road cooperation has not subsided, he said. “As we pursue a new development paradigm, we will explore better pathways for Belt and Road cooperation and offer greater opportunities to BRI partners,” he added.

“Together, we can turn Belt and Road cooperation into a journey toward common development and prosperity for all,” he said.

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