November 3, 2017
Ananth Krishnan | Posted by Pranav Dixit
India and China to cooperate fully with each other as Chinese President Xi Jinping begins his second term.
A top Chinese diplomat said on Friday that China was “ready to work with India” in what he called “a new era” of Chinese “neighbourhood diplomacy” as President Xi Jinping begins his second term.
On his first overseas visit in his second term, Xi will travel on November 10 to Vietnam to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic leaders’ summit and also pay a state visit to Vietnam and Laos, officials announced on Friday.
Chen Xiaodong, Assistant Foreign Minister, told reporters the visit would underline what he described as a “guiding principle” for China’s relations with neighbours, which had been outlined at the October 18-24 Party Congress in Beijing. The congress affirmed Xi’s status asthe leader of the party ahead of his second term, and also enshrined his ideological contribution into the party constitution.
Chen highlighted what he described as the situation in the disputed South China Sea “moving towards relaxation”, and said this was part of Xi’s “guiding principle” of “neighbourhood diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era”, adding that the “progress” in the South China Sea “shows countries in the region have the willingness, wisdom and ability to properly handle the South China Sea issue.”
In a thinly veiled comment aimed at the United States, Chen added that China “hopes countries outside the region can look at the positive progress in the South China Sea situation in an objective manner” and help maintain peace and stability in the region.
On Xi’s first visit after the congress, he said it “will help open neighbourhood diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era, the goal of which is to foster a new type of international relations and build a community of shared future for mankind. This will be the overall direction for neighbourhood diplomacy for China in the next stage.”
“President Xi also elaborated on China’s neighbourhood diplomacy focusing on the principle of sincerity, amity, inclusiveness and mutual benefit, and neighbourhood diplomacy aimed at building partnerships and friends with neighbours. We have been following this concept past few years in cooperation with neighbours and in deepening our political mutual trust. This is a guiding principle.”
On relations with India, Chen said, “India is an important neighbour of China. China attaches great importance to relations with India. We are ready to work with India to promote constant progress of bilateral relations guided by neighbourhood diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”
But whether this will see any change in the recent tensions in relations is unclear. Only on Thursday, China for the second year running blocked an application to designate the Pakistani terrorist Masood Azhar at the UN Security Council sanctions committee.
Prime Minister Modi and Xi in September agreed to adopt “a forward looking” approach to the relationship, as they met in Xiamen, China at the BRICS Summit after the August 28 disengagement after a 72-day border stand-off at Doklam near the India-China-Bhutan trijunction.
On Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said both India and China had “properly settled this issue through diplomatic means consistent with our common interest.” “We hope India can follow historical conventions and work with China to ensure peace and tranquility of the border area,” spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters.