BEIJING – China on Monday said it is ready to hold talks with India to resolve their differences on the ‘contentious’ China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“I noted the relevant report. Regarding the CPEC, China has repeatedly reiterated our position. As to the differences between China and India, China stands ready to communicate and hold talks with India to seek a proper solution so that these differences will not affect our general national interests. This best serves the interests of the two countries,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
She was responding to Indian Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale’s interview to state-run Global Times in which he had said that differences on the CPEC should not be swept under the carpet.
“We should not ask one party alone to solve this problem. We are willing to work with India to work with dialogue and communication for a better solution,” Hua added.
“CPEC is merely an economic cooperation project. It has not targeted any third party. We hope the Indian side can put this in perspective and we stand ready to strengthen cooperation with the Indian side,” she said
India has objected to the $50 billion CPEC as it passes through Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
The CPEC is a network of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan that will connect China’s Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
India, China should resolve border differences in a calm way, says Beijing
Hua also said that India and China should look at their border differences, including over Dokalam, in a “calm way” and resolve them through existing mechanisms.
Reacting to Bambawale’s interview, she said that differences can be addressed through existing mechanisms. “Indeed we have noted that the ambassador talked about it while addressing the issue,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said.
“I should say the two sides should look at border issues in a calm way and resolve relevant issues through the existing border-related mechanisms so that we can create conditions and enabling the environment to properly solve our differences,” she added.
Besides a mechanism to discuss border tensions, India and China also have special representative-level border talks to resolve the differences over the disputed border.
About the new satellite imagery showing buildup by both sides, Hua reiterated that Dokalam, over which Bhutan also claims sovereignty, is Chinese territory and said China is building facilities in the area.
She referred to the 1890 treaty between UK and China and said, “the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary has been demarcated by historic treaty and treaty under effective jurisdiction of China”.
“China has always upheld our sovereignty along the border area including (Dokalam) Donglang,” Hua said. About the satellite imagery, she maintained, “I should stress it (area) falls within China’s sovereignty that we conduct facility building in Donglang area. Some Indian media have carried reports about the military buildup and infrastructure building in the area. They are very excited about it.”
India and China ended a tense 73-day standoff on August 28, 2017, at Dokalam area after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stopped building a strategic road close to India’s narrow ‘chicken’s neck’ area connecting the northeastern states.