China on Tuesday conveyed an unambiguous message that it would remain steadfast in seeking a turnaround in Sino-Indian ties, unfazed by the current round of border tensions, and New Delhi’s growing ties with Japan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying trashed apprehensions, carried in a section of the Indian media that in the light of the ongoing border tensions in Ladakh, President Xi Jinping may have made an India-centric statement, when he had, asked the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to be prepared for a “regional war”.
“I believe this may be a wild guess,” asserted Ms. Hua. On the contrary, she stressed that Sino-Indian ties had turned the corner, following the “consensus” on steering forward the relationship, and avoiding conflict, that had been reached between the Chinese President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during Mr. Xi’s “very successful” visit to India.
“There may be some problems between the two countries (but) you can be assured that the two leaders have a consensus on such issues and they actually felt that disputes can be settled through friendly coordination and pending their final settlement we will maintain peace and tranquillity of the border area and will never allow the border area to influence Sino-Indian relations,” she observed.
China not a petty nation
Ms. Hua dismissed the perception that India’s growing ties with Japan were becoming an obstacle in the growth of Sino-Indian ties. “The Chinese people are not as fragile or a petty nation. They are happy to see other countries to develop friendly relations as long as such relationship is positive and constructive,” observed the spokesperson. But she nevertheless noted that any relationship between two countries must not endanger regional peace.
Analysts say that the comment is significant, in view of an argument that India, Japan, and Australia, backed by the United States are natural allies for a China-centric security partnership in the Asia-Pacific, which would alter the regional balance of power.
“We are willing to cooperate with all countries on the five principles of peaceful coexistence and we are happy to see other countries do the same so long as such relationship is conducive to regional peace and development,” stressed Ms. Hua.
The spokesperson also rubbished insinuations that the cancellation by India of a visit of a Chinese media delegation to New Delhi, apparently on account of the Ladakh incident, reflected negatively on Mr. Xi’s visit.
“I think we should all take a holistic and objective view before you say these things and we should be optimistic about the future.” She asserted that China was “sincere and confident” of further improving China-India ties.
Referring to the specific case, the spokesperson said the visit of the media delegation may have been “delayed”, and “cancel” was not the right word for describing the incident.