BEIJING, Dec. 16 -- India and China have agreed to speed up the process of resolving their long-standing border dispute, a report quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as saying.
"I had very good discussions with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao," Singh told reporters travelling with him from an East Asia summit in the Malayasian capital Kuala Lumpur.
|India and China have agreed to speed up the process of resolving their long-standing border dispute, a report quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as saying. (AFP) |
"We feel the negotiations should be expedited... We are dealing with difficult issues. Without setting any deadline, I do think it is possible to move forward at a faster pace..." he said according to the Hindu newspaper on Thursday.
In another development, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular news conference in Beijing that the two countries will hold friendly discussions so as to find an appropriate solution to the border issue.
China and India account for more than 1/3 of the world's total population, Qin pointed out, saying that Sino-Indian friendship not only conforms to the interests of the two neighbours, but also benefits the peace and stability of Asia and the world.
Singh, who met Wen during his four day stay in Kuala Lumpur, described it as his "most important meeting."
Giant neighbours India and China fought a brief, bitter border war in 1962.
A formal ceasefire line has yet to be established since the war but the unsettled border has remained largely peaceful following agreements signed in 1993 and 1996.
India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres (14,670 square miles) of Indian territory in Kashmir while Beijing claims that the 90,000-square-kilometre Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to China.
Ties have been warming in recent years with an exchange of high-level visits and joint military exercises. Trade reached 13.6 billion dollars in 2004 and is targeted to hit 30 billion dollars by 2010.
Work is under way to reopen a section of the traditional Silk Road next month at Nathu La pass on the border between India's Sikkim and China's Tibet. It would be the first direct trade link since the 1962 border conflict.
In April, both sides signed an agreement aimed at helping special representatives -- named by India and China in 2003 -- to negotiate territorial claims as experts delineated the boundary on a map and on the ground.
The special envoys -- India's National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and China's Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo -- held talks in Beijing in September but without any apparent progress on the dispute.
Singh said another round of talks is scheduled to take place in New Delhi next month.
"Another meeting is planned in January. Both of us (Wen and Singh) agreed that these... negotiations should be expedited and both of us expressed our commitment to find a mutually satisfactory solution to the border issue," he said. Enditem
(Source: China Daily/AFP)