'Invisible virus, not China, a threat to India': Ambassador Sun Weidong says nations should handle relations cautiously

The Chinese ambassador to India said the two neighbours need to straighten views on three key issues, including that Beijing is not a strategic threat to New Delhi

FP Staff July 30, 2020 20:49:31 IST
'Invisible virus, not China, a threat to India': Ambassador Sun Weidong says nations should handle relations cautiously

India and China should handle relations "cautiously, calmly and rationally" while avoiding "suspicion and confrontration", Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong said on Thursday. Weidong further added that it was the invisible virus, not China, which is a threat to India.

Stating that "China's basic policy towards India remains unchanged", Weidong said that the two neighbours "should grasp fundamental interests of two countries and their peoples, stick to friendly cooperation and properly handle differences to bring bilateral relations back to normal track".

In a series of tweets, which was part of a webinar on India-China relations, the ambassador also stressed on the need for the neighbouring countries to straighten their views on three key issues to move "India-China relations forward".

First, he said, "China is not a strategic threat to India" while stressing that Beijing is committed to peaceful development.

"Safeguarding world peace and promoting common development has always been fundamental goal of China's diplomacy. Since PRC founding 70 years ago, we have always pursued good-neighborly friendship, sought development with our neighbors and worked to make pie of cooperation bigger," he added.

The Chiense ambassador said that "it is short-sighted and harmful to deny long history of peaceful co-existence between the two countires" and protray China as "opponent and strategic threat due to temporary differences and difficulties".

Secondly, while China firmly upholds its sovereignty, it "will never engage in aggression or expansion", Weidong said.

"China has firmly safeguarded its national sovereignty, security and development interests. We have never been aggressive and pursued own development at expense of other countries. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Xizang affairs are totally China's internal affairs and bear on China's sovereignty and security. While China doesn't interfere in other country's internal affairs, it allows no external interference and never trades its core interests either," he said.

Thirdly, Weidong said that the Indian and Chinese economies are highly complementary, interwoven and interdependent and a "forced decoupling is against the trend and will only lead to a 'lose-lose' outcome.

He said the economic and trade exchanges between the two countreis should be positive cycle of mutual accomplishment and not a "zero sum game".

"It should not become a knockout nor a zero-sum game deliberately suppressing others. We should recognise mutually beneficial and win-win nature and jointly create open, fair and just business environment."

Weidong's remarks have come amid India's decision to ban several chinese apps and their copies in India and amid a growing demand to ban on import of "Chinese goods" in the country following between Indian Army and Chinese PLA soldiers in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.

Twenty 20 Indian Army personnel were killed in the clas on 15 June. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details. According to an American intelligence report, the number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35.

Last week, India and China agreed on "early and complete" disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh and may hold more military talks soon as they held a fresh round of diplomatic parleys amid indications the withdrawal of forces by the Chinese army from certain parts in the region has not gained momentum.

In his concluding remarks, the ambassador stressed that the India-China relations are hard earned he said that "we should handle relations cautiously, calmly and rationally, conform to international trend, always look forward and move forward, resolutely avoid whirlpool of suspicion and confrontation".

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