Tuesday, May 21
Ready to work with India to find solutions to 'specific issues': Xu

Ready to work with India to find solutions to ‘specific issues’: Xu


China’s new ambassador arrives in New Delhi
NEW DELHI: China is ready to work with India to “accommodate” each other’s concerns and find a mutually acceptable solution to “specific issues” through dialogue at an early date, Beijing’s new envoy to New Delhi Xu Feihong has said, remarks that came against the backdrop of the prolonged military standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Feihong arrived in Delhi after the position remained vacant for nearly 18 months, the longest such gap in over four decades.

Sixty-year-old Xu succeeds veteran diplomat Sun Weidong who left India after completing his tenure in India in October 2022.

His arrival in India comes amid protracted military and diplomatic negotiations between Beijing and New Delhi to resolve the military standoff in eastern Ladakh.

“It is an honourable mission and a sacred duty. I will do my best to deepen understanding and friendship between the two peoples, expand exchanges and cooperation in various fields, and improve and advance the bilateral relationship,” Xu told PTI and China’s state-run CGTN-TV in a media interaction in Beijing before leaving for New Delhi.

“China is ready to work with India to accommodate each other’s concerns, find a mutually acceptable solution to specific issues through dialogue at an early date, and turn the page as soon as possible,” Xu said without elaborating further.

In a brief statement, the Chinese embassy in Delhi said Xu arrived in New Delhi to assume office.
“Officials from the protocol division of the ministry of external affairs of India, the Dean of Diplomatic Corps, ambassador of Eritrea to India Alem Tsehaye Woldemariam and Minister Ma Jia, Minister Wang Lei, Minister Counselor Chen Jianjun from the Chinese embassy greeted the ambassador and his wife Tan Yuxiu at the airport,” it said.

Xu previously served as China’s Ambassador to Afghanistan and Romania, besides senior cadre-level postings in the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).

He succeeds veteran Chinese diplomat Sun Weidong, who completed his tenure in October 2022. He is currently China’s Vice Foreign Minister.

Xu’s appointment comes after an unusually long delay of 18 months amid strained relations between the two countries over the Ladakh military standoff.

Relations between the two countries hit a low except for trade ever since the eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong Tso (lake) area. The two sides have so far held 21 rounds of Corps Commander-level talks to resolve the standoff.

India is pressing the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to disengage from the Depsang and Demchok areas, maintaining that there cannot be restoration of normalcy in its relations with China as long as the state of the borders remains abnormal.

According to the Chinese military, the two sides so far agreed to disengage from four points, namely the Galwan Valley, the Pangong Lake, Hot Springs, and Jianan Daban (Gogra).

As he set to take over his posting in New Delhi, Xu was candid and hopeful about resolving the present deadlock in bilateral ties.

“I noted Prime Minister Modi’s comments on the importance of China-India ties, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson responded to that right afterwards,” Xu said.

In his recent interview with Newsweek magazine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India’s relationship with China is important and significant.

“The Chinese side always believes that China-India ties should not be defined by any single issue or area; the boundary question is not the entirety of the relationship. Speaking at the Indian Council of World Affairs in September 2014, President Xi Jinping said that we must not focus our attention only on differences and forget about our friendship and cooperation, still less should we allow the differences to stand in the way of our development and interfere with the overall growth of bilateral relations,” Xu said.

On how he viewed his appointment after a considerable hiatus, Xu said, “It is my great honour to be appointed by His Excellency President Xi Jinping as the 17th Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of India”.

“I look forward to, and I trust that I will have, the support and assistance from the Indian government and friends from all sectors as I work to perform my ambassadorial duties,” he said.

Xu also said cooperation and coordination between India and China on global and regional affairs would not only bring opportunities to both but also have an “important positive impact” on a reasonable international order.

The world today is experiencing profound changes unseen in a century. “We face multiple global challenges such as climate change, food and energy crises, weak economic recovery and so on,” Xu said.

“Closer communication and coordination on global and regional affairs will not only bring opportunities to both countries and the world but also add stability and positivity to international relations. It will have an important positive impact on the development of a fair and reasonable international order,” he said.

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