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China Daily Website

China denies border spat with India

Updated: 2013-04-26 02:36
By Qin Zhongwei ( China Daily)

The Ministry of National Defense has rejected recent foreign media reports that border tensions with India have flared up and said both countries' border troops are still communicating and coordinating through existing channels.

Media reports of Chinese border troops, military planes and helicopters crossing the Line of Actual Control into Indian side are "not true", ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said at a regular monthly news conference.

"The Chinese border defense troops always strictly abide by the relevant agreements reached by the two governments and are committed to safeguarding peace and tranquility in the border area between China and India," he said.

The Foreign Ministry also denied that Chinese troops had trespassed on Indian territory and said it hopes to properly resolve the dispute through peaceful negotiations.

"We have confidence that the good momentum that the two countries are now developing will not be hindered by border issues," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Thursday.

A wide gap remains between the two sides over the border issue, and their interpretations of where the Line of Actual Control lies still differ. But a consensus has been reached that the gap can be narrowed only by political means, experts said.

Neither China nor India wants to see the border issues affect overall bilateral ties, and mechanisms and efforts in place are still working, said Sun Shihai, an expert on Indian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, adding that the two countries began having meetings between special representatives on border issues in 2003.

"Confrontation is not welcomed by either side," he added.

On Thursday, India's foreign minister announced plans to visit China on May 9, saying the countries have a mutual interest in not allowing border disputes to "destroy" long-term progress in ties, according to AFP.

"I believe we have a mutual interest and we should not destroy years of contribution we have put together," Salman Khurshid told reporters on the sidelines of a business event in New Delhi.

"I think it is a good thing that we are having a dialogue."

While not directly linking his visit to the border dispute, Khurshid will be the most senior Indian official to visit Beijing since its new leadership took over at the beginning of the year.

China and India had a brief border war in 1962. More than a dozen rounds of talks have been launched since 2003 to resolve the border disputes.

A new step was made in 2012 when a mechanism for consultation and coordination regarding border issues has been officially launched. But bilateral ties have still been occasionally strained by the issue.

The border dispute is an issue left over from the history of Western colonialism, and both China and India are victims, according to Dong Manyuan, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.

As both countries face the task of developing their own economies and keeping their rapid growth, border issues should not get in the way, the experts said.

"But we cannot expect the disputes to be solved overnight. We need to have patience on that," Dong said.

Narrowing differences through peaceful negotiations is the right method, and China's previous experience with solving border disputes with other countries has proved that, he added.

AFP contributed to this story.

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