Border stand-off isolated, need to speed up boundary settlement: China

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Terming the recent border stand-off with India an “isolated” incident, China Monday said both countries needed to “speed up” negotiations on a boundary settlement.

India and China need to “redouble efforts” to push forward negotiations for a “framework” for a solution to the border question, said a Chinese source.

While earlier China had not acknowledged intrusion by their troops into Indian territory on April 15 and even termed it “not true”, the Chinese source said here Monday that the incursion by Chinese troops 19 km into India was an “isolated incident”.

The border issue “needs time and the political will of both countries”, the source added.

Visiting India ahead of the trip of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, a senior Chinese official said said the manner in which the 20-day stand-of between troops of both countries had been solved, demonstrated the effectiveness of the mechanisms in place to solve such disputes.

The official said both sides, which have held 15 rounds of negotiations between their special representatives, should speed up talks in order to arrive at a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution at an early date”. India and China should also continue to simultaneously improve relations in all spheres, he said.

Qin Gang, spokesperson and Director-General of Information Department in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said India and China while looking at the “important issue of boundary, will have to bear in mind the whole picture of our developing relations. And bear in mind the interest and benefits of good and cooperative China-India relations.”

He also said Premier Li and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are expected to issue a joint statement on the close bilateral ties, with emphasis on trade which stands at over $65 billion.

Chinese troops had intruded 19 km into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control – the de facto border – on April 15 in the Depsang area of Ladakh and pitched tents. Indian troops had also moved their positions forward, leading to a stand-off which was resolved after three weeks.

The border issue was also raised by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid during his May 9-10 Beijing trip. He said later that both sides had agreed not to let the incident come in the way of growth in India-China ties.

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