Xi: China and India should manage differences

Both countries should also boost investment ties, he tells Modi on sidelines of SCO summit

BEIJING • Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the two countries should work to "appropriately" manage their differences, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement online.

"(China and India) should strengthen multilateral communication and consultation, and appropriately control and manage differences and sensitive issues," Mr Xi said, according to the post.

Mr Xi also congratulated India on becoming an official member state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) security bloc, jointly led by Russia and China.

The two leaders met in Astana, Kazakhstan, on the sidelines of a summit for the eight-country bloc, which also includes nearly a dozen other states as partners or observer states.

Mr Modi thanked Mr Xi for supporting India to join the SCO, and said the two countries should respect each other's core interests and appropriately manage differences, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry post.

No comment was immediately available from the Indian delegation.

Mr Xi also said China and India should increase trade and investment cooperation to ensure that the two countries are able to enjoy more "early-stage profits" from large-scale projects in infrastructure and industry.

STRENGTHEN TIES

(China and India) should strengthen multilateral communication and consultation, and appropriately control and manage differences and sensitive issues.

CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING

"Substantive progress" on the China-India-Bangladesh-Myanmar project should also be promoted, Mr Xi said, referring to a project to increase connectivity and trade between the four countries.

India has expressed unease over China's "Silk Road" initiative to expand trade links between China and Eurasia, and did not send government officials from New Delhi to attend a summit of leaders and ministers in Beijing last month.

A visit in April by Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing brands a separatist, to a region controlled by India but claimed by China stoked tensions between the two countries.

The Indian government has since taken steps to cool tensions, rejecting an Australian request to take part in joint naval exercises with the United States and Japan last month, to avoid angering China.

The SCO was formed by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in 2001 to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighbouring Afghanistan.

China has said it supports Iran's membership of the security bloc, as requested by Russia, and that the subject is under discussion at the summit, despite having been refused last year.

China yesterday also pledged to contribute an additional 10 million yuan (S$2 million) to the secretariat of the SCO to facilitate its work.

REUTERS, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'Xi: China and India should manage differences'. Print Edition | Subscribe