China says border issue with India should not be linked with bilateral relations

Beijing, Jan 29 (PTI) China on Friday said the border issue with India should not be linked with bilateral ties, even as it welcomed External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s remarks on the significance their ties and the importance New Delhi attached to relations with Beijing.

“I have noted his remarks,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here while responding to a question on the online address by Jaishankar to the 13th All India Conference of China Studies on Thursday.

“External Affairs Minister Jaishankar’s stress on the significance of China-India relations showcases the importance the Indian side attaches to its ties with China. We approve of that,” Zhao said in comments posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website.

“Meanwhile, I need to stress that the border issue shall not be linked with bilateral relations. This is also an important lesson learned through the two countries’ efforts over the past decades to keep our ties moving forward,” he said.

The foreign ministry spokesman also hoped the India will work with China to properly manage the differences, promote practical cooperation, and get the bilateral relations back on the right track.

In his address, Jaishankar outlined eight broad principles and three “mutuals” to mend strained ties between India and China, and said the two countries are truly at crossroads and their choices will have profound repercussions, not just for them but for the entire world.

Issues related to the border figured prominently in Jaishankar’s eight point principles to develop bilateral ties.

The minister said the developments in eastern Ladakh last year brought the relationship under “exceptional stress” and India is yet to receive a credible explanation for the change in China’s stance or reasons for amassing troops in the border areas.

China and India are locked in a military standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 5 last. The two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the face-off in eastern Ladakh, but no significant headway has been made so far.