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China, India working on framework agreement on boundary issue
Anil K Joseph in Beijing | November 07, 2006 23:06 IST
At a special briefing on Hu's November 20-23 state visit, the first in a decade by a Chinese head of state, Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai told reporters that the Special Representatives of India and China were currently exploring the possibility of a "framework agreement" on the boundary issue.
Without going into specifics, Cui said both sides have made "active progress" on the boundary talks and the border areas have maintained peace and stability.
According to diplomatic sources, India-China boundary talks are currently in the second phase under which the two sides are exploring the possibility of thrashing out a framework agreement.
"In this phase it is the expectation that the special representatives will draw up an agreed framework for the resolution of the boundary based on the agreed political parameters and guiding principles," the sources explained.
Asked if India's Special Representative and National Security Advisor, M K Narayanan and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister and Special Representative, Dai Bingguo could meet before Hu's visit, Cui declined to confirm but only said that the next meeting was scheduled to be held in New Delhi.
Recent reports in the Indian media said that Narayanan and Dai may meet in Delhi later this week for the eighth round of negotiations so as to make further progress on the vexed boundary issue prior to Hu's visit.
India and China formed the Special Representatives mechanism in June 2003 during the visit of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to China.
During Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India in April 2005, the two governments signed "Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the settlement of the India-China Boundary Question", which signalled the end of the first phase of boundary talks.
India says China is illegally occupying 43,180 sq kms of Jammu and Kashmir including 5,180 sq km illegally ceded to Beijing by Islamabad under the Sino-Pakistan boundary agreement in 1963. On the other hand, China accuses India of possessing some 90,000 sq km of Chinese territory, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.
Hu will be arriving in India following visits to Vietnam, where he will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Top of Form forum, and to Laos, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at an earlier news conference. Hu will also visit Pakistan from Nov 23 to 26.
Cui said Hu, also General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China, will be visiting India at the invitation of his Indian counterpart A P J Abdul Kalam at a time when the two neighbours are celebrating 2006 as 'India-China Friendship Year.'
Describing Hu's visit as an important one to push ahead the strategic cooperative partnership, Cui hoped that the trip would further deepen the friendship and political mutual trust and charter the future course of their upgraded relationship.