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No fundamental difference on 'inter-connectivity' issue, we'll not push India on Belt and Road Initiative: China

China on Saturday said Beijing will "not be too hard" with New Delhi on the issue of the Belt and Road Initiative.

No fundamental difference on 'inter-connectivity' issue, we'll not push India on Belt and Road Initiative: China
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Wuhan: China on Saturday said there is no fundamental difference with India on the issue of "inter-connectivity" and Beijing will "not be too hard" with New Delhi on the issue of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The BRI, a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013, has become a major sticking point in the bilateral ties. The BRI also includes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which India opposes as it goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

At the end of the two-day informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi in the central Chinese city, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said, "we feel that there is no fundamental difference between China and India on the issue of supporting inter-connectivity."

"The Indian side does not exclude this cooperation. It is also continuing to advance on interconnection. India is also a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It is the second largest shareholder of our region," Kong said.

"As for whether India accepts the expression Belt and Road, I think it is not important and China will not be too hard on it," he said.

India had boycotted last year's Belt and Road Forum organised by China.

The BRI, a pet initiative of President Xi, is aimed at promoting network of roads, ports and rail networks all over the world to spread China's influence.

Kong said both China and India seek a fair settlement of their border dispute.

The two countries will also enhance military and security communication mechanisms, Kong said, referring to the India-China boundary issue.

Leaders of the two countries believe that China and India are friends and the development of China-India relations is trend of the times, he said.

Regarding the bilateral cooperation, the two sides agreed to sort out the existing mechanisms between the two countries to make communication between the two countries more effective, start bilateral negotiations as soon as possible, further expand bilateral trade, promote cultural cooperation and exchanges between the two countries as a whole, seeking fair and reasonable solution of border issues, he added.

To a question on Tibet, Kong said "the position of the Indian government is that Tibet is an inalienable part of China. This has not changed. In the process of promoting mutual political development, it is also an important political consensus reached by both sides."

He said there was no disagreement between the two leaders at the meeting. "The two sides can handle these issues on the consensus reached," he said.

China and India are both major global powers in this region. In the process of contact between the leaders of the two countries, it is inevitable to talk about the relationship between the two countries, and it is also a question that will inevitably be touched upon, Kong said.

To another question, he said both China and India pursue the idea of sharing and building a global governance. 

"China-India relations are not targeted at third parties. They will never engage in obsolete and out-of-date zero-sum games. They will not engage in closed and exclusive circles," he said.

"Sino-Indian relations will not be affected by other factors, either China or India. Both are major powers with great influence. Positive communication among great powers has injected positive factors into regional and world peace and stability," he said. 

Terming the informal meeting between Xi and Modi "a success and a milestone", Kong said, this meeting was not intended to solve specific problems, but the main aim was to strengthen communication exchanges, provide strategic guidance to the relations, and increase mutual trust between the leaders.

Kong, who was part of interactions between Xi and Modi, said that in the past two days, the two leaders had six meetings, conversations, walks, one-on-one exchanges, dinners, and luncheons in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The minister said that Xi emphasised that the problems between China and India were "temporary" but the cooperation would be "everlasting".

"Before these issues and differences are resolved, the two sides must... Avoid creating new ones, and promote mutual exchanges and cooperation to resolve contradictions and differences," Kong said.

He said Prime Minister Modi fully agreed to that the two sides should resolve their difference in a proper way.

"Both the leaders believe that the world order is rapidly changing, and China and India must shoulder important responsibilities in the future by jointly raising the voice of developing countries, supporting the multilateral trading system, and making positive contributions to prosperity in Asia. 

"The two leaders, based on correct understanding, outlined a blueprint for future of China-India relations," he said.

"The informal meeting between the leaders of China and India is an important new milestone in the relations between the two countries and clarion call for the future of bilateral relations," he said, adding that China and India do need (to develop) mutual trust and "how to enhance it between the leaders of the two countries is an important issue this time".

During the summit, the two leaders did not shy away or negotiate with each other but set the tone for addressing issues at macro level, he said.