China said on Thursday it is “taking care” to develop its relations with India and if the Asian neighbours are united, one plus one will become 11, instead of two.
“Chinese and Indian leaders have developed a strategic vision for the future of our relations. The Dragon and Elephant must not fight each other, but dance with each other,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at his annual press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress.
He said mutual trust was the most precious commodity for bilateral relations and Beijing was “willing and ready to inherit and take forward our traditional friendship and be a friend and partner of the Indian people.”
Wang said despite the difficulties in past year, the China-India relationship “continues to grow” and with political trust, “not even the Himalayas can stop us from friendly exchanges.”
“Our common interests far outweigh our frictions,” he said.
The two countries have planned a series of high-level visits in March and April. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to take part to attend the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Qingdao in June.
In response to a question on the South China Sea where it has overlapping territorial claims with the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei, Wang said China followed a responsible approach, taking into account interests of the Chinese people, historical facts, regional peace and the international rule of law.
However, he said, there were challenges in the South China Sea.
“Some outside forces are not happy with the prevailing calm, and try to stir up trouble and muddle the waters. Their frequent show of force with fully-armed aircraft and naval vessels is the most destabilizing factor in the region,” he said.
According to Wang, China will work with ASEAN countries to seize the opportunity, broaden cooperation, prevent interference, and overcome challenges in the year ahead.
Addressing a question on the Indo-Pacific, Wang dismissed the revival of the “quadrilateral” dialogue of Australia, US, Japan and India as a “headline-grabbing” strategic idea that would “soon dissipate”.
He said compared to the four-nation Quad, China’s Belt and Road Initiative had the “support of 100 countries”