China prefers a pact with India on a Code of Conduct, to maintain peace along the border, rather than clarification on the Line of Actual Control, proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit in May. Outlining China’s first public reaction to Prime Minister Modi’s proposal, Deputy Director General of the Asian Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Huang Xilian, said both sides should try to reach an agreement on a Code of Conduct as attempts to clarify mutual positions on the LAC had “encountered difficulties” in the past. “Whatever we do in the border area it should be constructive. That means it should be a building block for the process of negotiations not stumbling block,” he said, replying to a question.
“If we find that clarification of the LAC is building block then we should go ahead. But if we find that it is a stumbling block it could complicate the situation further. We have to be careful,” Huang, the Ministry’s point man for India, told an Indian media delegation on the outcome of Modi’s three-day visit in May.
“Our position is that we have to seek some kind of comprehensive measures, not only one measure to control and manage the border to ensure peace and tranquillity along the border. We can try and reach an agreement on the Code of Conduct,” Huang said. He said both countries still have some time to explore together. “There is no need to do only one thing. We have to do many things. We have to seek comprehensive approach to this,” he said. Pressed further on why China has reservations on the LAC clarification, which Modi stated will help both sides to know their positions, Huang said it was tried few years ago but ran into difficulties.
“We tried to clarify some years ago but it encountered some difficulties, which led to even complex situation. That is why whatever we do we should make it more conducive to peace and tranquillity for making things easier and not to make them complicated,” he said.
China says the border dispute is confined only to 2,000 kms mostly in Arunachal Pradesh, but India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 kms, especially the Aksai Chin area annexed by China in the 1962 war. The two sides have held 18 rounds of Special Representative talks to resolve the issue.