China, India to Ignore Differences, Deepen Ties

As China’s new passport design stirs up controversial border disputes in various regions, Chinese state media reports that China and India, whose border has remained unsettled since the Sino-India war in the 1960s, have agreed to maintain peace in border areas, from Xinhua:

Both sides agreed to create a favorable atmosphere and conditions for the final settlement of the border issue and agreed that it should not affect the positive development of China-India ties, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.

China’s State Councilor Dai Bingguo and India’s National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon co-chaired talks here on Monday.

The two sides confirmed they will speed up work to further narrow differences, on the basis of peace and friendship, equal consultation, mutual respect and mutual understanding, according to the statement.

Menon said that India and China share common views on many major issues and their consensus is far greater than differences. Developing relations with China is one of the priorities of India’s foreign policy, he said.

He stressed that India will not participate in any attempt to contain China.

The United States has been an active player in the continuing border disputes, but Beijing is seeking to discourage “American Interference,” The Times of India adds:

 India and China were engaged in tough bargaining on Monday with Beijing seeking an assurance that New Delhi would not encourage “American interference” in the region. The Indian delegation, led by National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, will continue discussion on the border dispute and the passport controversy.

Chinese leaders revealed a strong desire to keep India out of the emerging club of nations – Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines – involved in territorial disputes with China. Beijing’s anxiety offers an opportunity for India to negotiate some tough issues like China’s continued arms support to Pakistan.

Aside from border issues, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and Menon have promised to deepen ties between the two countries, from the New York Daily News:

China and India have the capability and wisdom to resolve boundary issues and it is Beijing’s strategic choice to step up cooperation with New Delhi, said key Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo Tuesday when he met India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.

Wu said China would like to work with India to deepen political trust and boost bilateral strategic cooperative partnership, which complies with fundamental interests of both countries and works for regional and world peace, stability and prosperity.
As the international situation is undergoing profound changes, China and India share extensive common interests, enjoy broad room for cooperation and face new opportunities for development, Wu said.

Menon underscored India’s commitment to developing a strategic cooperative partnership with China that is oriented toward peace and prosperity.

According to The Hindu, China and India have a ‘convergence of views’:

“Mr. Menon’s visit is not about the boundary issue [alone]. It is about the whole relationship,” Qin Gang, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Information Department, told reporters.

“We have seen a lot of convergence of views and shared interests, shared aspirations, shared goals,” Mr. Qin said. “This meeting will send out a strong message that as two neighbours China and India will continue to work for good neighbourly relationship. This meeting is not an occasion where both sides expressed differences on the boundary issue.”

Mr. Dai said China’s policy towards India was “in alignment with the diplomatic thinking” expressed at the party congress. The new leadership, he said, “attaches great importance to relations with India.”

The Chinese State Councillor — a rank below Vice-Premier in the State Council, or Cabinet — will step down as the Special Representative on the border talks when he retires at the Parliament Session in March. He was accompanied at Monday’s talks by Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying. A member of the newly selected Central Committee, she has been seen as one of the candidates to take over his role as the SR in the boundary talks.

Read more about China’s relationship with India, via CDT.