The Taiwan question is different from the boundary question between India and China, China’s ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, said on Saturday in his first media interaction since the border standoff began two years ago.
Sun said both sides are continuously trying to bring the ties back on track.
Calling the current border situation “stable”, he said the two sides are working towards switching over from “emergency response” to “normal management” of the situation.
On the standoff, he said India and China have met several times at diplomatic and military levels, and have agreed to maintain the dialogue in a “constructive and forward-looking manner”. On infrastructure building and military exercises along Line of Actual Control, Sun said China always conducts normal exercises, and the two sides are working on the “principle of mutual and equal security”.
“There should not be a winner takes all and the law of the jungle [approach]…the two sides are making joint efforts and should handle their differences carefully,” he said.
Sun recounted the “positive impetus” created by the BRICS meeting, participated by both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping; Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi’s meetings with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval; congratulatory letter from Xi to newly elected President Droupadi Murmu. He said the “leaders’ guidance” has an “irreplaceable role” in relations between the two countries.
He was non-committal on a possible meeting between Modi and Xi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan next month, and instead said the two sides need to strengthen “mutual confidence”.
Responding to questions, he said, “Taiwan question is different from the boundary question between China and India. The Taiwan question is truly an internal affair because Taiwan has always been and will always be a part of China. This is a fact and nobody can change it.
The Chinese envoy has differentiated between the Taiwan issue and the India-China border issue. His remarks make it clear that Beijing views the two issues differently, but New Delhi has been firm and wants to draw the line on the impact on the bilateral relations.
“So how to solve the Taiwan question is purely a business of the Chinese government. No foreign forces, or the so-called independent Taiwan forces, can change that. This is the firm determination of China.
“The China-India boundary question is an issue left over from history. Or, I may say, this is a historical burden that was leftover…. So China and India have boundary disputes. This is a fact. And how to solve it, we have clearly stated. I think the Indian side also agreed that these disputes should be solved through dialogues and consultations to seek for a fair and reasonable and mutually acceptable solution. And before that, we should try to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border areas.”
Calling it a “boundary issue”, the Chinese envoy said, “This is not the kind of territory which always belonged to China. And some other forces tried to separate this part of China’s territory. So the Chinese government and people will never tolerate such actions…. That’s the difference of nature between the Taiwan question and the boundary question.”
Lashing out at US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a “political farce” and calling the US the “culprit of this crisis”, Sun said the One-China policy is the “political foundation” of India-China relations. “India’s One-China policy has not changed; we hope the Indian side will once again reiterate,” he said.
New Delhi has not reiterated the One-China policy, and the MEA spokesperson had said on Friday that it did not spell out the One-China policy. The MEA spokesperson stated that the government’s “relevant” policies are “well-known and consistent” and “do not require reiteration”.
On blocking the listing of Pakistan-based terrorists as global terrorist at the UN, Sun said China is a “responsible” country and needs more time to evaluate but underlined that “terrorism is common enemy” and that Beijing supports the fight against “terrorism”.
He also said that Indian students can return to China “soon”, but did not offer any timeframe.