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On eve of Pranab visit, China hopes for fair solution to border row
Raghavendra in Beijing | June 03, 2008 18:50 IST
On the eve of Mukherjee's visit, Beijing [Images] said the two countries do not see each other as a threat and it would work towards reaching through dialogue a "fair, reasonable and acceptable" solution to the boundary row, an issue which has often caused stress on bilateral relations with reports of Chinese incursions and its claims over Indian territory.
Qin said both sides attached "great importance" to the visit of Mukherjee, who is making the first trip after becoming the External Affairs Minister in the first high-level contact since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] came to China in January giving a greater thrust to development in bilateral relations.
Coming in the midst of warmer ties but marked by occasional boundary irritants, Mukherjee's visit at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi is also the first by an Indian external affairs minister since Jaswant Singh undertook the trip in 2002 and the first high-level contact since the Tibet [Images] unrest erupted in March.
"Now the countries have to have discussions on the framework for a solution," Qin said, adding China would continue to follow the political guiding principles and the dialogue to find a solution to the boundary issue. "During this process, we will try to maintain tranquility and stability of the boundary region to avoid disruption, for the sound development of China-India relations."
The Indian Air Force had made the Daulatbeg Old airbase operational on May 31 when an AN-32 transport aircraft landed at the unpaved runaway, in a sign of the IAF's intention to re-operationalise the base which could give India the capability to keep an eye on the strategic Karakoram highway linking China and Pakistan.
India has, however, won China's appreciation for its handling of the Beijing Olympic torch relay in New Delhi which passed off smoothly after a troubled global run with Tibetans staging protests. During his visit which will begin from Guanzhou where he will formally inaugurate the Consulate General of India on June 5, Mukherjee would also meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and address the prestigious Peking University.
Qin said, "We hope the relations between the two countries can develop. Constantly, the two countries can build up trust and expand cooperation and exchanges." Stable and developing bilateral relations served the interests of not only the two countries but also of the two peoples.
"It will also benefit peace and stability in the region. I believe our Indian friends understand this. This is not only the consensus between the leaders of the two countries but also the aspirations of the peoples of the two countries," Qin said.