Joint efforts needed to maintain good ties, China on Jaishankar's remarks on Ladakh standoff
Beijing, Dec 10: Underlining that joint efforts were needed to maintain good relations between China and India, a senior Chinese official on Thursday said that Beijing is committed to resolving the border standoff through dialogue but was also firmly committed to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said this while reacting to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's remarks that China has given India "five differing explanations" for deploying large forces at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the violation of bilateral pacts has "very significantly damaged” their relationship.
The comments by Jaishankar on Wednesday during an online interactive session organised by Australian think tank Lowy Institute came against the backdrop of the over seven-month-long military standoff between India and China at the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
"China and India are neighbours and the two largest emerging markets in the world. Maintaining good relations serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, which also calls for joint efforts from both sides to meet each other halfway," Hua underlined at a regular Chinese foreign ministry briefing here.
"The rights and wrongs of what has happened in the China-India border area are very clear and the responsibility lies squarely with the Indian side. China is committed to resolving the boundary issue through negotiation and consultation and maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas," she said.
At the same time, China is "firmly committed to safeguarding China's territorial sovereignty. We hope that India will work with China in the same direction and do more things conducive to solidarity, cooperation and common development," she said in response to a question at the briefing.
Asked to elaborate on the common efforts needed to defuse the current standoff at the border, the spokesperson claimed that China has "always strictly complied with the agreements signed with India." "At the same time, like any sovereign country, China's determination to safeguard its own sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering. It is the Indian side that needs to seriously think about why it is faced with the current situation," she said in remarks updated by the Chinese foreign ministry on its website.
At present, China-India relations "do face difficulties and challenges, but China's policy towards India has not changed," she said.
Hua said China believes that it is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples to maintain good relations, as two neighbouring countries and emerging economies, each with a population of 1 billion. China will, as always, be committed to maintaining and developing relations with India and upholding peace and stability in the border areas, the spokesperson said.
"With regard to issues left over from history, such as the border issue, China has always advocated finding a just and reasonable solution that is acceptable to both sides through peaceful and friendly consultations, and at the same time placing the border issue in an appropriate position in bilateral relations.
"We hope that the Indian side will work with the Chinese side, earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, properly manage differences, enhance political mutual trust, strengthen practical cooperation, and strive to return China-India relations to the track of healthy and stable development," she added.
The two countries have held eight rounds of Corps Commander-level talks to resolve the military standoff in eastern Ladakh. However the talks have not yielded any concrete outcome yet to ease the border tensions.