China's President Xi tells India's PM Modi that both countries should constructively handle disputes

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou on Sept 4, 2016.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou on Sept 4, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on on Sunday (Sept 4) that the two countries should respect each other's concerns and constructively handle their differences.

Meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Mr Xi said relations had maintained a steady, healthy momentum, and should continue to increase mutual understanding and trust. "We ought to respect and give consideration to each other's concerns, and use constructive methods to appropriately handle questions on which there are disputes," Mr Xi said, in comments carried by China's Foreign Ministry. "China is willing to work hard with India the maintain the hard-won good position of Sino-India relations."

The two nuclear-armed neighbours have been moving to gradually ease long-existing tensions between them. Leaders of Asia's two giants pledged last year to cool a festering border dispute, which dates back to a brief border war in 1962, though the disagreement remains unresolved.

China's Defence Ministry said last month that it hoped India could put more efforts into regional peace and stability rather than the opposite, in response to Indian plans to put advanced cruise missiles along the disputed border with China.

Indian military officials say the plan is to equip regiments deployed on the China border with the BrahMos missile, made by an Indo-Russian joint venture, as part of ongoing efforts to build up military and civilian infrastructure capabilities there.

China lays claim to more than 90,000 sq km ruled by New Delhi in the eastern sector of the Himalayas. India says China occupies 38,000 sq km of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.

India is also suspicious of China's support for its arch-rival, Pakistan.

Mr Modi arrived in China from Vietnam, which is involved in its own dispute with China over the South China Sea, where he offered Vietnam a credit line of half a billion dollars for defence cooperation.

Mr Modi's government has ordered BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the BrahMos missiles, to accelerate sales to a list of five countries topped by Vietnam, according to a government note viewed by Reuters and previously unreported.