Patience needed on China-India border issue

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-06-07 10:13

China and India have to be patient and realistic in resolving their border issue, visiting Indian External Affairs Minister said on Friday, dismissing some Indian radicals' comments on the long-running issue.

Pranab Mukherjee made the comment during a speech at Peking University, which has historic relations with India.

"We will have to resolve these differences through negotiations in a constructive and forward looking manner. We will have to be patient and realistic," Mukherjee said.

China and India's dispute over their Himalayan border, which dates back decades, is widely expected to be one of the key topics of Mukherjee's four-day official visit to China that ends on Saturday.

"Our boundary is peaceful and we are determined to keep it so. We have evolved mechanisms and have gained experience to maintain peace and tranquility in our border areas."

China and India have held 11 negotiations on border issues since the mechanism of the representatives of both governments was established in 2003.

In 2005, the two sides agreed on a set of political principles during the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao to New Delhi to guide both sides in the task of finding a mutually satisfactory solution.

"While we may have our differences, we will not let them become obstacles to the broadening and deepening of our relationship," Mukherjee said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press conference that the two sides are in the process of working out a "framework for a solution of the issue".

During his speech, Mukherjee also called on China to join hands with India in evolving a subregional security architecture "which takes into account the conditions prevailing in Asia" to help address common concerns, including the security of sea lanes.

The scheme should be based on "basic building blocks" of regional dialogue forums, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, he said.

Mukherjee also introduced India's foreign policy and its sincerity to join hands with China in fulfilling the joint responsibilities and interests.

"When President Hu Jintao visited India in 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there was enough space for the two countries to develop together in a mutually supportive manner for mutual benefit.

"We in India are committed to further strengthening our relations with China. I believe that China reciprocates this sentiment."

On behalf of the Indian government, Mukherjee donated $175,000 to the university's Center for India Studies.

On Friday afternoon, Mukherjee awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan, an Indian civilian decoration to recognize distinguished service of a high order to the nation, to 94-year-old Sanskrit linguist Ji Xianlin, who is bedridden at the 301 military hospital.

Ji translated the Ramayan, an ancient Hindu epic, into Chinese during the "cultural revolution" (1966-1976).

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