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Wen for border as peace zone
Evasive on backing India over UN Security Council seat
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao believes that the India-China boundary can be turned into “a boundary of peace” with sincerity and perseverance by the two sides.

Emphasising that Sikkim is no longer a problem between the two countries, he affirmed they were keen to develop border trade on the Chinese side which will help the people in those areas and lead to stability. He was confident that the border question will eventually be resolved.

Wen remained ambivalent about Beijing’s support to India’s quest for a permanent seat with veto rights in a reformed and expanded United Nations Security Council. He reiterated the formulation that China sees an important role for India in international affairs. It is a populous and very important developing country.

“We fully understand and support a bigger role for India in international affairs, including the United Nations,” he said in an hour-long interface with select mediapersons here today before emplaning for home after a week-long trip to four countries in South Asia.

On the role that China sees for itself in the SAARC grouping and India seeking an entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Chinese Premier observed they were positive about Saarc and cooperation with South Asian countries to facilitate peace and friendlier relations.

Further, he said, China welcomes India’s liaison with various groupings, including the SCO, as well as New Delhi’s involvement with the Asean and cooperation with East Asian countries.

Dwelling on his country’s pursuit of multipolarity, Wen noted that India, Russia and China were influential nations and could contribute to the democratisation of international relations. The three countries are coordinating and cooperating to promote peace, stability and development in the region and the world at large. “That is why China sees this as a positive development.”

Wen made it clear that China’s military and nuclear assistance to Pakistan will not impinge on his country’s relations with India. He clarified that China’s nuclear cooperation with Pakistan was for peaceful purposes and in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Besides, this cooperation was also subject to supervision by the International Atomic Energey Agency (IAEA).

Emphasising that stability and good neighbourliness in this subcontinent was essential for rapid development, the visiting Premier said his visit to India had produced three major results. He drew pointed attention to the Joint Statement calling for strategic cooperation for peace and prosperity. “We have taken the relationship to a new level.”

Second, the two sides have clinched an agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for resolving the border question which is the first political document between India and China since 1981. “We have brought the negotiations on the boundary issue to a new stage as well.”

And third, India and China have adopted a five-year plan of economic cooperation and fixed a bilateral trade target of $ 20 billion by 2008 and $ 30 billion by 2010. After extensive exchange of views with host Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Wen said agreements were reached basically on all issues.

Then, on the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, it was decided to declare 2006 as the “India-China year of friendship.”

Wen disclosed that while bidding him farewell after a Chinese cultural show last night, Dr Manmohan Singh made a meaningful remark:” ...actually we two are making history.”

He sought an added impetus to collaborative endeavours among the industries of the two countries, especially in the hitech and science and technology spheres.

Wen said during his visit to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India, China had signed nearly 50 bilateral cooperation documents. China’s economic cooperation and trade is based on equality and mutual benefit. “Our policy is to make up deficiencies with our natural strengths and identify different areas of cooperation.”

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