China today said it looked forward to work jointly with the new Indian government to forge a "long-term constructive cooperative partnership" to boost bilateral ties while stressing that the "Sikkim issue" would be resolved "gradually."
"After the establishment of the new Indian administration, China stands ready to work with India to maintain and develop the good momentum of the bilateral ties and to promote constant progress of the long-term constructive cooperative partnership between the two countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters here.
Commenting on the outcome of the general elections in India, Liu said China has taken note that the Congress party has emerged as the biggest party and the Chinese government will send congratulatory message to the new government once it is formed.
Describing India as a "very important neighbour," he stressed that Sino-India relationship has been improved and developed in an all-round way. "It is the common wish of both people to develop the bilateral relationship," he said.
Asked whether China and India have settled the Sikkim issue, Liu sidestepped the question saying it was an "issue" left over from history, and "we hope that with the constant improvement of ties between China and India, the question will be solved gradually."
He did not refer to Sikkim being removed as an "independent country" in China's revised official world map.
On the Indian election's impact on Indo-Pak peace process, the spokesman hoped that the two sides would continue the momentum in talks and live peacefully. Noting that the relations between India and Pakistan have improved in recent times, he said, "we hope the momentum in the improvement of bilateral ties can be maintained and the two countries can live with each other in peace and contribute to peaceful and stable South Asia."
India and Pakistan were both important countries in South Asia, and the development of bilateral ties between New Delhi and Islamabad would impact on the stability and peace in South Asia.
He declined to compare China's one-party dominated "democratic" political system with that of India's multi-party democracy, saying Beijing "respected" the choice made by Indian people in their path of nation building.
"I don't want to make any comment or comparison between the (political) systems of both countries," he told a western correspondent who asked whether China or India could boast of having the world's largest democracy.
"The political systems and the development path of India is a choice made by its own people. We respect their choice which was made in accordance with their own situation," he said, while stressing that China too had "democracy."
"The political system of China is democratic. China is the largest developing country. India is one of the largest developing countries in the world," he said. The people of various countries can choose according to their path to democracy including the political systems.
"China stands ready for dialogue and exchanges with relevant countries in promoting democracy. We are trying to join hands with other countries to promote the livelihood of the Chinese people," he said.
Since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has ruled the world's most populous nation. Apart from the CPC, there are eight non-Communist parties in China's mainland, which cooperate closely with the ruling party.