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Thursday, May 23, 2024

China’s top diplomat calls on India to meet “halfway” on border issue

Relations between India and China have deteriorated in recent months over their contested Himalayan border, and a visa spat in which the two sides have expelled nearly all of each other's journalists.

China’s top diplomat urged India to focus on “common interests” and meet China “halfway” to defuse border tensions between Asia’s most populous neighbours, the Chinese foreign ministry said Saturday.

Relations between India and China have deteriorated in recent months over their contested Himalayan border, and a visa spat in which the two sides have expelled nearly all of each other’s journalists.

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“China and India’s common interests clearly outweigh their differences,” Wang Yi told Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, when the two met Friday on the sidelines of Southeast Asian talks in Jakarta, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The two sides should support each other, rather than… suspect each other,” Wang added.

India and its northern neighbour are locked in a military standoff along their mostly undemarcated border in the Ladakh region.

Beijing also claims the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of Tibet, and it considers Kashmir a disputed territory.

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“It is hoped that the Indian side will meet China halfway and find a solution to the border issue that is acceptable to both sides,” Wang said.

The two countries have agreed to hold the next round of military commander-level talks on the border issue “as soon as possible”, the ministry statement said.

Despite frosty relations, China is India’s second-largest trade partner.

In 2020, India sought to limit investments from China as political tensions heightened between them, with their soldiers clashing in the disputed Himalayan region.

“China is highly concerned about India’s recent restrictive measures against Chinese companies,” Wang added, while urging New Delhi to provide a “fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment”.