India and China need to manage and control their differences and not allow them to become conflicts, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has told a foreign audience, adding that Beijing is committed to maintaining stability along the disputed Sino-India border.
China is also willing to resolve differences with New Delhi through dialogue, Wang said, adding, at the same time, that India is to blame for the tension at the border.
The problems between the two countries should be placed in “appropriate places” in bilateral ties, the Chinese foreign minister further said.
Wang was speaking at the prestigious French Institute of International Relations in Paris on Monday, hours after the Indian army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had accused each other of triggering a new bout of tension at the south bank of Pangong Tso and the Reqin pass near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
India said on Monday that it had pre-empted “provocative military movements” by China to change the status quo along the LAC on the southern bank of Pangong Lake, a development that widened the trust deficit between the two sides and dealt a blow to efforts to reduce tensions.
The incident followed the lack of forward movement in the disengagement and de-escalation process even after several rounds of diplomatic and military talks.
Meanwhile, Wang, who is on a week-long five-country Europe tour, including stops in France and Germany, gave a speech and took questions from senior European politicians and executives on China, India and the world.
“China-India relations have recently attracted the attention of all parties. What I want to tell you is that China has always been committed to maintaining stability in the Sino-Indian border areas,” Wang said according to a Mandarin transcript of the interaction released by the Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday.
“We will not take the initiative to complicate and expand the situation. Of course, we must also firmly safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said in the lengthy response.
“The border between China and India has not been demarcated, so there will always be problems of this kind. We are willing to manage various problems through dialogue with the Indian side. At the same time, these issues should be placed in appropriate places in bilateral relations,” Wang, who is also the state councilor, told his audience at the institute.
Wang mentioned the meetings between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the consensus they had reached.
“For example, instead of ‘dragon and elephant fighting’, ‘dragon and elephant dancing together’, ‘1 plus 1 is not equal to 2, but equal to 11’ and so on. These are all philosophical views,” he said.
“For another example, the leaders of the two countries agree that cooperation between the two sides is greater than differences, and common interests are greater than contradictions. Differences must be managed and controlled, especially not allowing differences to become conflicts”.
Wang said the two governments should implement the consensus reached between Xi and Modi.
The two countries are “highly complementary” to each other, he said, adding: “China is willing to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries to help India accelerate its own development.”
“If both China and India can develop, 2.7 billion people will move towards modernisation together. This will be an unprecedented and spectacular sight in the cause of human progress. I hope India can also view and deal with problems from this perspective,” Wang said.
Disengagement between border troops had begun after a conversation between Wang and national security advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on July 6 – both are also the special representatives for the ongoing border talks.
Despite several rounds of diplomatic and military talks following the Wang-Doval conversation, differences have remained, mirroring the trust deficit between the neighbours.