Implement Consensus and Handle Differences Properly to Bring China-India Relations Back on the Right Track
--Video remarks by Chinese Ambassador to India H.E. Sun Weidong on current China-India relations
2020-07-10 17:38

On July 10, 2020,Chinese Ambassador to India H.E. Sun Weidong delivered video remarks on current China-India relations. The full transcript of the video remarks is as follows:


On June 15, there was an incident causing casualties at the Galwan Valley in the western sector of the China-India border. It was a situation neither China nor India would like to see.

On July 5, the Special Representatives of the China-India Boundary Question, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had a conversation over the phone, and reached a positive consensus on easing the current border situation. Currently, our front line troops are disengaging on the ground in accordance with the consensus reached by the Military Corp Commander talks.

At the backdrop of what recently happened at the Galwan Valley, some quarters in India raise doubts about the consensus reached by the two leaders, and have wrong perception of the direction of China-India relations. These have brought disruptions to the bilateral relationship.

In this regard, I believe it is imperative for us to clarify some fundamental points.

First, China and India should be partners, rather than rivals.

China and India have a history of friendly exchanges for more than 2,000 years. Friendly cooperation has dominated most of the time. For both China and India, achieving development and revitalization is the top priority where we share long-term strategic interests.

Since the 1990s, China and India have reached an important consensus that the two countries pose no threat to each other. During Wuhan Informal Summit in 2018, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again stressed that the two countries provide each other with development opportunities instead of posing threats, which the two sides should adhere to. This is the fundamental judgment on China-India relations, charting the course for the development of our bilateral relations.

I have noticed some emerging opinions in recent days which repudiate the essence of China-India friendship due to the border-related incidents, make false assumptions about China's intentions, exaggerate conflicts and provoke confrontations, and regard a close neighbor over thousands of years as "enemies" and "strategic threats". It is not the fact. It is harmful indeed and not helpful.

China and India have jointly advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and upheld independent foreign policies. We should naturally see each other as positive factors in the changing global landscape as well as partners in realizing our respective dream of development. China hopes itself will develop well and wishes India the same. Only through correct view of each other's intentions with a positive, open and inclusive attitude, we can ensure a stable and long-term development of bilateral relations and avoid any strategic miscalculation.

Second, China and India need peace rather than confrontation.

Cooperation benefits both while confrontation serves neither. As two major neighboring countries, it is natural that China and India may have some differences. We have been holding dialogues and negotiations to manage differences. We should always bear in mind the overall bilateral relations, put differences in an appropriate place and not allow differences to interfere with bilateral relations.

China and India have the boundary question left over by history, which is sensitive and complicated. We need to find a fair and reasonable solution mutually acceptable through equal consultation and peaceful negotiation. Pending an ultimate settlement, we both agree to work together to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.

We have so far established a number of mechanisms such as the Special Representatives talks on the China-India Boundary Question, and maintained smooth communication through diplomatic and military channels. During the phone conversation between the two Special Representatives couple of days ago, both sides agreed to follow the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries. Both believed that maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas matters significantly to the long-term development of bilateral relationship, that the boundary question should be placed properly in the bilateral relations, and that an escalation from differences to disputes should be avoided. Both sides reiterated adherence to the agreements signed by the two countries and making joint efforts to ease the situation in the border areas.

China has all along advocated that peace is of paramount importance. We are neither a warlike state nor an assertive country. The right and wrong of what recently happened at the Galwan Valley is very clear. China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and ensure the peace and tranquility in the border areas.

I believe China and India have the wisdom and capability to properly handle differences and not fall into the trap of conflict. We should seek common development as partners rather than opponents or adversaries. Why should we fight against each other that will only hurt those close to us and gladden the foes?

Third, China and India need to pursue win-win cooperation instead of zero-sum game.

China and India are the two largest developing countries and emerging economies. Development is our common goal and the most important convergence of interests. Now we are facing the common enemy that is COVID-19. Virus knows no borders. In the face of this great test for humanity, we should fight side by side in the same trench. We should strengthen cooperation on curbing the epidemic and jointly overcome difficulty.

As China and India boast huge market potentials and high economic complementarity, we are fully capable of achieving win-win results through cooperation. China has been India's largest trading partner for many years in a row, with cumulative investment in India exceeding $8 billion US dollars. China-India economic and trade cooperation has not only boosted the industries such as mobile phones, household appliances, infrastructure and automobile making in India, but also created a large number of local jobs.

Some people have been trumpeting the so-called "decoupling" of China-India economic and trade relations, with an attempt to completely exclude "Made in China". One basic fact they ignore is that the current global industrial and supply chains are formed in a process of natural selection by market optimization over the past decades. The business community and people of India are the beneficiaries of China-India economic and trade cooperation. Any self-protection, non-tariff barriers and restrictive measures against China are unfair to Chinese enterprises, unfair to Indian employees who lost their jobs as a result, and unfair to Indian consumers who can not get access to the products and services they deserve. It will only harm others without benefit to oneself, and it will eventually hurt oneself as well.

Our two leaders have decided to set up a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism, strengthen the synergy of economic development strategies and explore the establishment of a "manufacturing partnership". There is broad prospect for our practical cooperation. We should transmit and implement consensus reached by the two leaders,  keep and advance bilateral exchanges and cooperation, and avoid amplifying the differences and complicating matters. Only through openness and cooperation can we get out of the shadow of COVID-19 and find a way to revive economy at an early date.

Fourth, China and India need to build trust, rather than suspicion.

As President Xi Jinping pointed out the key to China-India relationship that mutual trust is the foundation for the stability and development of the bilateral relations. If China and India wish to speed up the realization of our own development and revitalization, mutual respect and support is a sure way and meets the long-term interests of both countries. Suspicion and friction is a wrong path and goes against the fundamental aspiration of the two peoples.

To build mutual trust, we need mutual respect and treat each other as equals. We need to be open and inclusive. We need to respect and accommodate mutual core interests and major concerns, adhere to the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs. We need to seek convergence while putting aside differences and not impose one's will on the other. We should honor our commitment, walk the talk, and ensure implementation of the leaders' consensus in letter and in spirit.

The two sides should conduct timely strategic communication, enhance mutual understanding and cooperation, manage differences through dialogue, and firmly grasp the direction of bilateral relations. During their telephone conversation, the two Special Representatives agreed to strengthen communication through the mechanism of the Special Representatives talks, hold Meetings of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on China-India Border Affairs without interruption, consistently improve and strengthen confidence-building measures and prevent more incidents that undermine peace and tranquility in the border areas. All these will strongly promote the strategic mutual trust between our two countries.

Fifth, China-India relations should move forward rather than backward.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of China-India diplomatic ties. The bilateral relations have withstood test and made hard-won progress. With wisdom and painstaking efforts of generations, we should cherish what we have achieved today rather than repudiate it. At backdrop of the current international landscape, China-India relations have gone far beyond the bilateral scope and have global strategic significance. As a Chinese saying goes, we have no fear of the clouds that may block our sights as we are already at the top of the height. Now the China-India relations are facing a complex situation. We should take a broader and far-sighted view, work together to overcome and turn it around as soon as possible.

We should meet each other half way, expand positive dimension of cooperation, narrow down negative factors and refrain from doing harm to mutual trust and cooperation. In face of the epidemic, we may explore new ways and channels to promote communication and understanding between the two peoples to create a favorable atmosphere for the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic ties. The media outlets of our two countries should also make their efforts in an objective, rational and responsible manner, avoid inciting antagonism in an effort to contribute positive energy to the steady and sound development of China-India relations.

It is even more important to firmly grasp the consensus reached by our two leaders when the bilateral relations are overshadowed. I believe as long as we follow the guidance of our two leaders, implement the consensus reached by the Special Representatives, focus on friendship and cooperation, defuse suspicion and misgivings, and properly handle differences and sensitive issues, we will be able to address challenges we are facing and bring the bilateral relations back on the right track for a sound and steady development.

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