China Urges Mutual Support and Stabilization of Bilateral Ties with India at ASEAN Meetings

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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

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Emphasizes the Need for Cooperation and Trust between China and India to Ease Border Tensions at ASEAN Meet

JAKARTA – In a significant development during the ASEAN meetings held in Jakarta, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi conveyed to Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar the importance of stabilizing bilateral ties between the two Asian giants. Against the backdrop of simmering military tensions along their extensive border, Wang emphasized the necessity of mutual support and cooperation instead of suspicion.

China and India share a 3,800-km (2,360-mile) frontier, a large part of which remains poorly marked, and have a history marred by a brief but bloody war in 1962. However, since the 1990s, both nations have made considerable progress through a series of border agreements, with China now being India’s second-largest trading partner.

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
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

Unfortunately, a setback occurred in 2020 when a border clash resulted in the loss of lives of 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers. This incident led to increased military fortifications and troop deployments by both sides. While several rounds of military and diplomatic talks have contributed to tension alleviation, the situation on the border remains fragile and dangerous, as described by New Delhi.

During their meeting, Wang stressed the imperative for China and India to work collaboratively in finding a mutually acceptable solution to the border issues. He emphasized the importance of supporting each other and achieving common goals, rather than engaging in a fruitless struggle or harboring suspicions. Wang urged that specific issues should not define the overall relationship between the two nations.

China's Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Wang Yi attends during a trilateral ASEAN 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
China’s Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Wang Yi attends during a trilateral ASEAN 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

Efforts to Strengthen Bilateral Relations Discussed during High-Level ASEAN Meetings

To move forward, both sides have agreed to hold the next round of military commander-level talks on border issues at an early date, as confirmed by the Chinese foreign ministry. These discussions aim to address the concerns and tensions that have arisen since the clash in 2020.

Additionally, in response to India’s recent restrictions on Chinese companies, Wang called for a fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese firms. In recent years, New Delhi has intensified scrutiny of investments by Chinese companies and has banned over 300 Chinese apps, including popular platforms like TikTok.

A general view of the ASEAN East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, 14 July 2023. ADI WEDA/Pool via REUTERS
A general view of the ASEAN East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, 14 July 2023. ADI WEDA/Pool via REUTERS

As ASEAN meetings continue to foster dialogue and cooperation among its member countries, the discussions between China and India hold significance for the entire region. The stabilizing of bilateral ties and the resolution of border tensions would contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous Asian landscape.

Read Also: Southeast Asia’s Top Diplomats Convene in Indonesia for ASEAN Meeting

The ASEAN meetings serve as a platform to address crucial issues affecting the region and promote collaboration among member nations. In this context, China’s proactive stance and emphasis on cooperation provide an optimistic outlook for the future of Sino-Indian relations. As both countries navigate their bilateral challenges, the ASEAN community eagerly awaits the progress made by these Asian giants in resolving their differences and forging a path towards mutual prosperity. – Reuters