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Indo-China border talks from today
Anil K. Joseph

Beijing, September 25
The sixth round of India-China Special Representative-level border negotiations will begin here tomorrow as part of the efforts of the two Asian giants to reach a “package” to solve the vexed boundary issue. Narayanan, the Indian Special Representative who arrived here today, will hold in-camera talks with his Chinese counterpart, Dai Bingguo, who is also Chinese Vice Foreign Minister.

The Indian official is also expected to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing during his two-day stay in the Chinese capital.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the Special Representatives will discuss the framework for resolving the border issue in line with the ‘Political Guiding Principles for Solving the Border Issue between China and India’, which was agreed during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India in April this year.

“We believe the two sides will be able to find a solution which is fair and reasonable and acceptable to both sides through equal consultation and mutual understanding and accommodation in the spirit of the political guiding principles,” Qin said.

It notes that “both sides should, in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual understanding, make meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments to their respective positions on the boundary question, so as to arrive at a package settlement to the boundary question”. The principle stresses that the differences on the boundary question should not be allowed to affect the overall development of bilateral relations.

“The two sides will resolve the boundary question through peaceful and friendly consultations. Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means. The final solution of the boundary question will significantly promote good neighbourly and friendly relations between India and China,” the principles says.

The Special Representative mechanism was created during the June 2003 visit of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to China. The two sides agreed to each appoint a Special Representative to explore, from the political perspective of the overall bilateral relationship, the framework of a boundary settlement.

Tomorrow’s boundary talks comes soon after Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met for the fourth time this year. The two leaders met on September 14 in New York on the sidelines of the 60th anniversary of the UN and had discussed the boundary issue.

India says China is illegally occupying 43,180 sq kms of Jammu and Kashmir including 5,180 sq km illegally ceded to Beijing by Islamabad under the Sino-Pakistan boundary agreement in 1963. On the other hand, China accuses India of possessing some 90,000 sq km of Chinese territory, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh. — PTI

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