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Sikkim, border issue will be resolved: China
Anil K Joseph in Beijing | June 19, 2003 17:43 IST
China on Thursday said it will find a 'fair and reasonable' solution to the border issue and create a favourable atmosphere for the settlement of the Sikkim issue with India during the visit of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee beginning June 22.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson termed the vexed boundary problem with India and the issue of Sikkim's integration with India as 'a burden leftover from the history of colonialism'.
"The two sides have had healthy discussions on this issue," he told reporters at a special briefing ahead of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit from June 22 to 27, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in nearly a decade.
"China would like to work with parties concerned to create favourable atmosphere for the settlement of that (Sikkim) issue," the official said when asked whether the Sikkim issue would be settled during Vajpayee's visit.
China had taken a strong position against Sikkim's 'annexation' by India back in 1974 and the northeastern state is still shown as an 'independent kingdom' in Chinese maps.
India says that approximately 38,000 square kilometres of Indian territory are under occupation by China in Jammu and Kashmir.
In addition, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan 'boundary agreement' of 1963, Pakistan has illegally ceded approximately 5120 sq kms of Indian territory in Pakistan occupied Kashmir to China.
On the other hand, China lays claim to 90,000 sq kms of land in Arunachal Pradesh.
"We think that the boundary issue should not be an obstacle in the development of bilateral relations and we will create conditions for the solution of this issue amid the improvement of China-India relations," the official said.
He noted that China and India have already established a meeting mechanism -- the Joint Working Group -- for border negotiations and progress has been made on the clarification and confirmation of the alignment on the Line of Actual Control.
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