Fri, Dec 16, 2005 - Page 5 News List

India, China to speed up talks on border dispute

DPA , NEW DELHI

India and China have decided to move more quickly to resolve their long-standing boundary dispute, a news report said yesterday.

"Both of us agreed that these negotiations should be expedited and both of us expressed our commitment to find a mutually satisfactory solution to the border issue," Indian Premier Manmohan Singh said after meeting his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao (溫家寶), on the margins of the East Asia summit in Kuala Lumpur.

Singh said the two sides had a "good discussion" on the resolution of the border dispute, but did not specify any timeframe for a settlement.

Faster

"We are dealing with difficult issues. Without setting any deadline, I do think it is possible to move forward at a faster pace," Singh was quoted by the Hindu newspaper as saying.

Officials are slated to meet in January.

The two neighbors dispute large areas along their 4,000km border after a brief border war fought in the Himalayas in 1962.

China occupies part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region with India accusing Pakistan of illegally ceding it to Beijing.

India alleges that China illegally occupies 43,000km2 of land in Kashmir while China has laid claim to large parts of India's northeastern Arunachal Pradesh state and earlier claimed Sikkim.

Mutual recognition

During former Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's visit to China in June 2003, India said that it recognized the Tibet region as an autonomous part of China and Beijing recognized Sikkim as part of India.

Booming two-way trade and increased dialogue between the countries has contributed to significantly improving bilateral relations in the past few years.

Singh said the meeting with Wen was his most important engagement in Kuala Lumpur in the last three days.

The two countries have agreed to implement recommendations of a joint study group on economic relations which includes a preferential trading arrangement between the countries.

Two-way trade between the countries is valued at about US$20 billion.

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