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China“s top diplomat urges stable ties with India as military tensions simmer

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China’s top diplomat Wang Yi told the Indian foreign minister that bilateral ties need to be stabilised, as the two Asian neighbours searched for ways to ease simmering military tensions along their vast border.

On the sidelines of ASEAN meetings in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Wang told Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar that mutual support between the two nations is needed instead of suspicion, according to a readout from the Chinese foreign ministry.

India and China share a 3,800-km (2,360-mile) frontier, much of it poorly marked, and fought a brief but bloody war over it in 1962.

Since the 1990s, ties have improved after a series of border agreements, and China is now India’s second-largest trading partner.

A setback in 2020, however, when 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand fighting during a border clash, spurred both militaries to fortify positions and deploy large numbers of troops and equipment.

Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks have helped to ease tensions between the two armies, but New Delhi has described the situation on the border as fragile and dangerous.

China and India need to work in the same direction to find a solution to border issues acceptable to both sides, Wang told Jaishankar during their meeting on Friday.

“The two sides should support each other and accomplish things together, rather than wear each other down or suspect each other,” Wang said.

India and China should not let specific issues define their overall relationship, he said.

The two sides agreed to hold the next round of military commander-level talks on border issues at an early date, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

Since 2020, New Delhi has also ramped up scrutiny of Chinese businesses, banning more than 300 Chinese apps, including TikTok. It has also intensified scrutiny of investments by Chinese firms.

On India’s recent restrictions against Chinese companies, Wang urged a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies.

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(L-R) Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir, Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong, China’s Communist Party’s foreign policy chief Wang Yi, India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar attend the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, 14 July 2023. ADI WEDA/Pool via REUTERS

India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, delivers his speech in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Post Ministerial Conference with India during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Jakarta, on July 13, 2023, where Myanmar’s seat was left empty. BAY ISMOYO/Pool via REUTERS

China’s Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Wang Yi attends during a trilateral meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 12, 2023. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/File Photo

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