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Boundary talks with India making progress, says China

By Raghavendra in Beijing
May 22, 2008 19:25 IST
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China, on Wednesday, said its talks with India on the long-festering boundary problem were making progress but it took time to resolve such issues as China insisted on maintaining border tranquility to ensure that there were "no minor clashes."
The Special Representatives of both countries were "working very efficiently" and making progress but "it takes time and strenuous efforts to reach the final agreement," Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs He Yafei told a delegation of media persons from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation nations.
"We do have a border issue. There is no doubt about it. We have a mechanism of special representatives designated by our leadership. They are working very efficiently and making progress. We are making progress," Yafei said.
But, meanwhile, Yafei said "I think it is important to maintain border tranquility, to make sure there are no minor clashes in the border area so that you will be building confidence."
He Yafei, who is in charge of Asia in the ministry, said, "We are optimistic and I am personally optimistic that this (boundary) issue will be resolved if we put the larger picture in our mind and have the long term interests of our people in our heart."
"We can resolve these issues. But it takes time. It takes time," Yafei said.
The Special Representatives of India and China on the boundary row have held 11 rounds of talks so far.
Asked if China favoured India's entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Yafei said "we would very much like to see India and other countries become a member of that organisation but it depends on the consensus." 

"Consensus is a good principle. But it is slow," Yafei said.
On China, now having observer status, becoming a full fledged member of the SAARC grouping, Yafei said "whether China wishes to become a member not only hinges on our wish but also a collective wish of SAARC countries."
"The same principle applies if India wants to become a member of the SCO."
He said China attached great importance to its relationship with the SAARC nations and it was happy that many projects proposed by Beijing at the 14th summit of the grouping were going on well. The projects included training for officials in poverty reduction.
China, Yafei said, viewed SAARC as a "very important part" of the international system. "We wish to see that this relationship continues, our trade increases and political exchanges at high level and especially the people to people contact increases which is important to deepen the understanding, for a lasting vibrant relationship."
Yafei said China's relationship with SAARC countries would continue to develop and "it is going to get better."
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Raghavendra in Beijing
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