State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called on India to work with China for peace and tranquillity in the border areas, saying that New Delhi's vacillation and even regression over its China policy goes against the interests of both sides.
In a telephone conversation with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Thursday, Wang said that the rights and wrongs of last year's situation in China-India border areas are very clear and profound lessons should be drawn from the past.
This was the first phone call between the two ministers following their meeting in Moscow in September. The two sides agreed to establish a hotline to exchange views in a timely manner during the call.
The Indian side breached bilateral agreements and the consensus several times in the western sector of the China-India boundary last year, in an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force and encroach on China's territory. The incident in June caused the death of four Chinese soldiers and the serious injury of a Chinese regimental commander.
Wang said that since the disengagement of front line troops in the Pangong Tso Lake area had been completed recently and the situation on the ground had significantly eased, the two sides must cherish this hard-won progress, jointly consolidate the achievements and maintain the momentum of consultation, in order to further ease the situation.
He also urged efforts to improve the border management and control mechanism, advance the boundary negotiation process and continuously build mutual trust.
Experience over the past few decades has repeatedly demonstrated that acts of highlighting differences will not help resolve the issue, but will instead erode the foundation of mutual trust, Wang said.
While border disputes, as an objective reality, should receive adequate attention and be taken seriously, Wang said that the border issue is not the only factor in China-India relations and should be placed in a proper position in their ties.
Both as ancient civilizations and major emerging economies that are at a critical historical period of development and revitalization, China and India should help and support each other in achieving their goals, Wang noted, adding that a continuing decline of bilateral ties only means unnecessary losses to both sides.
According to Wang, the two sides should adhere to the strategic consensuses reached by their leaders and firmly follow the right path of mutual trust and cooperation. He said the two sides should not go astray due to suspicion and distrust.
Wang underlined the importance of properly handling the border issue in order to prevent bilateral ties from being trapped in a vicious cycle.
The state councilor suggested both sides work together instead of blocking each other, and join hands for development instead of building up walls.
The two countries can take an easy-to-difficult, step-by-step approach to improving ties and promoting pragmatic cooperation, Wang added.
Jaishankar said that India hopes to strengthen dialogue and consultation with China in order to complete the early disengagement of troops in other regions, push for the de-escalation of border tensions and maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
The recent disengagement in the Pangong Tso Lake area is an important outcome of the two sides' earnest implementation of the consensus reached by the two foreign ministers in Moscow, he said.
India is willing to act in the interests of the long-term development of India-China relations and implement the important consensuses reached by leaders of both countries, Jaishankar added.
This article originally appeared on China Daily and has been reproduced with permission.