China and India should shed suspicions and create “enabling conditions” by expanding bilateral cooperation to resolve the border standoff, Beijing said on Sunday, PTI reported.
“The two sides need to help each other to succeed instead of undercutting each other,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. “We should intensify cooperation instead of harbouring suspicion at each other.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, Wang said the two countries should “get along and pursue development and rejuvenation together”, when asked about the ongoing disengagement along the Line of Actual Control, The Hindu reported.
“The rights and wrongs of what happened in the border area last year are clear, so are the stakes involved,” Wang said. “It again proves that initiating confrontation will not solve the problem. Returning to peaceful negotiation is the right way forward. It is important that the two sides manage disputes properly and at the same time expand and enhance cooperation to create enabling conditions for the settlement of the issue.”
The Chinese minister’s comments came days after he and India’s Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar agreed over a telephone call that the two countries should “quickly resolve the remaining issues” in the eastern Ladakh region, following disengagement of troops in Pangong Lake area. Last week, India’s foreign ministry said that it expected China to work with it for “complete disengagement” along the LAC. Then on Friday, India’s Ambassador to China Vikram Misri met Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and called for completing the disengagement from all areas in eastern Ladakh, The Indian Express reported.
On Sunday, Wang also said that the similar national conditions of India and China also mean that they share the same or similar positions on many major matters, PTI reported. “Therefore, China and India are each other’s friends and partners, not threats or rivals,” he said.
Almost nine months after the standoff began, both countries announced an agreement in February for soldiers to disengage on either side of the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh, where the first clashes took place in May. Thousands of soldiers from the two sides have been deployed on the Himalayan frontier since April on the Line of Actual Control.
The disengagement process along Pangong Tso began on February 10, as military commanders began pulling out troops, tanks and artillery from the area in the first step towards full withdrawal. On February 20, India and China held commander-level talks to discuss pulling back from other areas.