'China didn't seek India's support over South China Sea'

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Beijing, Aug 17: The South China Sea issue may have figured in the recent foreign ministers' meet of India and China, but the conjecture that Beijing tried to win New Delhi's support on the subject was wrong, state-run media said on Wednesday (Aug 17).

An article in Global Times blamed Indian media for raking up the issue, whereas it said, New Delhi had kept a neutral stance on the South China Sea dispute despite pressure from the US and Japan.

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"The two nations may have discussed the issue during Wang's visit, and it is possible for both sides to clarify their own ideas, stances and policies over the matter. But the conjecture that Wang was trying to win India's support over the South China Sea by helping New Delhi with the NSG membership doesn't make sense at all," the article said.

"When it comes to security, after the final award of the South China Sea arbitration was announced, the Indian government has kept a neutral stance despite the pressure from Washington and Tokyo. However, Indian media has spared no effort in linking Wang's visit to the South China Sea issue and the country's failure in joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)."

India media had recently reported that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to New Delhi was aimed at courting India's support over the South China Sea dispute in lieu of Beijing supporting New Delhi's bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

"It was the US, not China, who made the relevant rules for NSG membership, and India failed to meet the criteria of entering the club. A dozen NSG members are now opposing India's bid, thus, it does not make sense for Indian media to point an accusing finger at China," said the daily.

A subsidiary of People's Daily, Global Times has of late been acerbic towards Indian media, accusing it of spoiling the ties between two nations.

The write-up clarified that Wang's visit to India was mainly focused on the upcoming G20 summit in China and the BRICS summit in India.

The article said "there are some contradictions and frictions between China and India, but the overall bilateral relations have been developing smoothly."

It also cautioned that turning into enemies was not in the interest of either of them.

"We should not focus on the obstacles, but attach more importance to collaboration with mutual benefits. Due to some long-standing problems, such as territorial disputes, it might be hard for China and India to become true friends, but turning into enemies will not serve anyone's interests," it said.

"For the moment, when we talk about Sino-Indian ties, we tend to use the phrase 'relations are generally stable without major conflicts'. Yet this should not be the highest expectation we hold for the relationship. Beijing and New Delhi have raised hopes for economic and trade cooperation, but turning them into reality requires wider consensus and more consultations."

"Sino-Indian collaboration on economic and trade issues used to be one of the most positive parts of the bilateral relations. Yet joint works in this regard have not been going smoothly in recent years," it added.

"Apart from the sluggish global economy, a major problem remains hard to resolve - India's growing trade deficit with China. Indian products are not competitive and New Delhi complains that Chinese markets are not open enough. Due to the remaining divergences, no good solution has yet been found."

"Meanwhile, there is also no real progress on the Beijing-raised Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, which is a vital part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Numerous reasons can be listed, including political changes and social turmoil in Myanmar."

"More significantly, New Delhi has kept a negative attitude toward the initiative. It does not mean that India is not welcoming China's investment. Yet, given the nation's strategic interests, it does not fully trust China because part of the project goes through sensitive regions in India. China will hence listen to New Delhi's concerns and keep promoting the plan," it said.

IANS

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