Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said Monday that the two countries should take the bilateral relationship forward and not backward, reiterating that they need to pursue the objective of having “win-win cooperation” instead of a “zero-sum game”.
Reacting to last week’s meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi and India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in Moscow, ambassador Sun said in a statement the relationship should be steered in the “correct direction”, in light of the border stand-off in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Jaishankar and Wang met in Moscow for the first time in person since the stand-off began in May, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting.
After the meeting, both sides issued a joint statement enumerating a five-point agenda to ease the mounting tensions.
“Our two foreign ministers reached a five-point consensus, which includes that the two sides should follow leaders’ consensus, ease tensions, maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas, continue diplomatic communication and expedite work to conclude new confidence building measures,” Sun said.
“It is an important step towards the right direction, and will provide political impetus to ease the border situation and promote the bilateral relations,” he said, adding, “I hope and believe that as long as the two sides earnestly implement the consensus reached by the two foreign ministers to the front-line troops and adhere to the correct means of dialogue and negotiation, the two sides will find a way to overcome the current difficulties.”
According to the envoy, India and China now need to focus on “cooperation and not confrontation”, and “mutual trust and not suspicion”.
“Whenever the situation gets difficult, it is all the more important to ensure the stability of the overall relationship and preserve mutual trust. As long as the two sides keep moving the relationship in the right direction, building on the previous achievements, there will be no difficulty or challenge that can’t be overcome,” Sun highlighted.
‘Illegal trespassing by Indian troops’
However, Sun also reiterated the statement made by China earlier this month that Indian troops had illegally trespassed the LAC on the southern bank of the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh at the end of August. He said it is because of India that the “calm in the border areas was broken by gunfire” for the first time since 1975.
The ambassador said during the meeting between the ministers, China had asked India to “immediately stop provocations such as firing and other dangerous actions that violate the commitments made by the two sides”.
“It is also important to move back all personnel and equipment that have trespassed. The frontier troops must quickly disengage so that the situation may de-escalate. The Chinese side supports enhanced dialogue between the frontier troops on both sides to solve specific issues, and will stay in touch with the Indian side through diplomatic and military channels,” he said.
“Regarding the future development, the two foreign ministers agreed that as the situation eases, the two sides should expedite work to conclude new confidence-building measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquillity in the border areas. The way ahead for solution is very clear,” Sun added.