Sushma to assuage 'annoyed' China

Sushma to assuage 'annoyed' China

With US President Barack Obama’s visit to India triggering adverse reactions from China, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will have to soothe ruffled feathers in the neighbouring country when she visits Beijing in February.

Swaraj will visit Beijing next week to attend the trilateral meet of Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China.

She will also hold bilateral meetings with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, and is expected to attempt to soothe the feathers ruffled by the growing India-US bonhomie.

As Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to step up bilateral energy, defence and economic ties, and spelt out a joint strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, apart from affirming “the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea”, the communist country's unease was reflected in the statements coming from Beijing.

President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday received a message from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who greeted India on its 66th Republic Day. Xi also wrote that China was ready to work with India to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, and build a closer partnership of development.

According to the Xinhua agency, Xi also conveyed to Mukherjee that China was willing to make concerted efforts with India to lift their strategic cooperative partnership oriented to peace and prosperity to a higher level this year, which mark the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

On the other hand, Obama and Modi said in a joint statement on Sunday: “We call on all parties to avoid threat or use of force, and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

The official spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, however, said the South China Sea disputes should be settled among parties concerned through peaceful talks and consultations.  “At this stage, the situation in South China Sea is generally stable and there is no problem with navigation freedom and freedom of overflights. We hope the countries outside this region can play a constructive role on the South China Sea issue, and jointly safeguard peace and stability there. Together, we can ensure the serenity of the sea,” said Hua.

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