Boundary talks with India yielded 'initial results': China

Boundary talks with India yielded 'initial results': China

China today said border talks with India have yielded "initial results", enabling the two neighbours to properly handle their differences over the vexed boundary issue and maintain peace along the frontier.

Speaking shortly after the conclusion of the 17th round of the Special Representative talks between him and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon here today, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi said the parleys had yielded "initial results".

"The mechanism of Special Representatives' Meeting for the Boundary Question, which the two countries set up, has yielded initial results, enabling the two sides to properly handle their boundary-related differences and maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas," he said.

Yang, who called on Manmohan Singh, said the Indian Prime Minister was "very positive" about the outcome of talks.

"The Prime Minister was very positive about the result of the meeting and as usual, he showed such wisdom for the furtherance of our relationship and this is a very important message I would take back to the leadership in China," he said.

Addressing the launch ceremony of the "Year of China-India Friendly Exchanges" here, he said: "Over the years, we have abided by mutual respect, deepened strategic trust and worked steadily to increase resilience of the bilateral relations.

"We have kept to mutual benefit, expanded exchanges and cooperation and worked concertedly to bring tangible benefits to our peoples," said Yang, a former Foreign Minister and one of China's top diplomats.

He said the two sides have continued to "take care of each other's concerns, properly managed our differences and helped create an environment favourable for the overall development of bilateral relations".

During the Yang-Menon meeting, the two sides discussed possible additional confidence-building measures, including the early implementation of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA).

The BDCA, signed late last year during Singh's visit to Beijing, spells out a series of measures to enhance coordination between the armies of the two countries along the disputed 4,057-km Line of Actual Control.

The Special Representatives, who have been engaged in addressing the boundary issue for over eight years, are in the second of the three-phased process.

The first phase - Political Parameters and Guiding Principles - has been completed and the current step of building the framework for a settlement is considered the most difficult part.

The third and final phase will be demarcation and delineation of the boundary.

Yang noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Singh have jointly said that the Chinese dream is closely linked with the Indian dream and they fit in with each other very nicely.

"As long as we work together for common development, we will surely make our respective dreams of national renewal a reality. That not only serves the common interests of the 2.5 billion people in China and India, but is beneficial for Asia and the world as a whole," he said.

"China will, as always, uphold the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit and firmly pursue a foreign policy of building friendship and partnership with the neighbouring countries."

Yang said China is ready to work with India to "steadily enhance strategic trust, expand friendly exchanges and cooperation across the board, properly handle the problems left over by history, step up coordination and cooperation on major regional and international affairs and move our strategic and cooperative partnership to a new high".

Speaking on the occasion, Vice President Hamid Ansari noted that large trade flows were beginning to bind India and China together again.

He said greater balance in bilateral trade will ensure its sustainability. "While investments are also beginning to gather speed, we do hope to see more Chinese firms establishing a presence in India. This would be mutually beneficial.

"We encourage Chinese companies to establish production and supply chains which will link our economies. This will also ensure a more balanced trade between our two sides," Ansari said.

Ansari welcomed the idea of setting up of dedicated Chinese industrial parks in India as a means to address the growing imbalance in bilateral trade.

"I would venture to think that in a large country such as India, we should plan for several such Chinese industrial zones in our various regions," he said.

India's trade deficit with China reached a record USD 31.4 billion in 2013, with two-way trade declining last year by 1.5 per cent on account of a sharp decline in Indian exports.

Indian exports to China last year totalled USD 17.03 billion - a 9.4 per cent fall from last year - out of USD 65.47 total bilateral trade, according to figures released by the Chinese customs last month.

The Vice President also praised the introduction of Chinese as a language in India's middle schools as an "innovative" idea.

"This is an excellent starting point," he said, noting that recently 22 Chinese teachers have come to teach Mandarin at select CBSE schools in India.

He also highlighted the importance of enhancing people- to-people exchanges which he said would go a long way in promoting better understanding between the two ancient civilizations and people and help build a "solid, friendly and cooperative" relationship between India and China.

Ansari said he was confident that the various programmes during the Year of Friendly Exchanges will help forge a closer and stronger relationship between India and China.

He said India plans to highlight Indian culture in China through a programme entitled 'Glimpses of India' during the year.

"We hope to get the support of all segments of Chinese society in this endeavour," he said.

Earlier, Yang said India and China will hold a number of functions of celebration this year, covering the political, economic, trade, security, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

"I am convinced that the serial celebrations this year will bring China-India relations to a still higher level," the Chinese State Councilor said.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and Chinese Ambassador to India Wei Wei were also present on the occasion.

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