China wants agreement with India on Code of Conduct at border

China wants agreement with India on Code of Conduct at border

China prefers a pact with India on a Code of Conduct to maintain peace along the border rather than clarification of Line of Actual Control proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit here last month.

Outlining China's first public reaction to Prime Minister Modi's proposal, Deputy Director General of the Asian Affairs at the Foreign Ministry Huang Xilian said both sides should try to reach an agreement on Code of Conduct as attempts to clarify mutual positions on the LAC had "encountered difficulties" in the past.

"Whatever we do in the border area it should be constructive. That means it should be a building block for the process of negotiations not stumbling block," he said, replying to a question.

"If we find that clarification of the LAC is building block then we should go ahead. But if we find that it is a stumbling block it could complicate the situation further. We have to be careful," Huang, the Ministry's point man for India, told an Indian media delegation here on the outcome of Modi's three-day visit here last month.

"Our position is that we have to seek some kind of comprehensive measures, not only one measure to control and manage the border to ensure peace and tranquillity along the border. We can try and reach an agreement on the Code of Conduct," Huang said.

He said both countries still have some time to explore together. "There is no need to do only one thing. We have to do many things. We have to seek comprehensive approach to this," he said.

Pressed further on why China has reservations on the LAC clarification, which Modi stated will help both sides to know their positions, Huang said it was tried few years ago but ran into difficulties.

"We tried to clarify some years ago but it encountered some difficulties, which led to even complex situation. That is why whatever we do we should make it more conducive to peace and tranquillity for making things easier and not to make them complicated," he said.

China says the border dispute is confined only to 2,000 kms mostly in Arunachal Pradesh, but India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 kms, especially the Aksai Chin area annexed by China in 1962 war.

The two sides have held 18 rounds of Special Representative talks to resolve the issue.

Officials say that LAC clarification was discussed in the past but remained dormant after vast differences in perception about mutual claims. Beijing was reluctant to agree even after India clarified that the claims will not have any impact on final solution to the boundary issue.

Modi first took up the issue of clarification of the LAC during President Xi Jinping's visit to India last year. He highlighted the need for it when Indian and Chinese troops had a face off at Chumar sector overshadowing Xi's trip.

The Prime Minister again highlighted it during his recent visit to China last month.
He said a "shadow of uncertainty always hangs over the sensitive areas of the border region" despite remarkable efforts by both the countries to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border.

"It is because neither side knows where the LAC is in these areas. That is why I have proposed resuming the process of clarifying it. We can do this without prejudice to our position on the boundary question," Modi had said addressing students of Tshinghua University here on May 15.

Terming Modi's visit most successful, Huang said leaders of both the countries have agreed to seek early solution to the border question. Both leaders have shown political will to resolve the issue.

"Both leaders have agreed that boundary question should not affect the overall development of our bilateral relationship and over all cooperation between the two countries," he said.

They also agreed that both sides should take effective measures to ensure peace and tranquillity along the border area, he said.

"Both sides are making efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border. That shows the kind of political will and sincere efforts," he said.

The two leaders also agreed on how to handle the differences in a constructive way. This is new model of relationship between the two major developing countries, he said. 

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