Ahead of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to India, China’s state-run media on Friday said the door for India’s admission into the NSG is “not tightly” closed and New Delhi should “fully comprehend” Beijing’s concerns over the disputed South China Sea.
Terming that India and China are partners not rivals, a commentary by state-run Xinhua news agency said “as Beijing and New Delhi head into a season of intensive top-level diplomatic encounters that could well define the future of their partnership, the two need to work together to keep their disagreements in check”.
“What should be noted above all else is that India has wrongly blamed China for blocking its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),” it said.
“So far, there is no precedent for a non-Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory to become a NSG member. Many inside the body that monitors the global flow of nuclear materials insist prudence in handing a membership card to any non-treaty party,” it said in apparent reference to China’s persistent demand that signing the NPT is a must for the entry of new members into the 48-member body which controls global nuclear commerce.
“However, New Delhi should not be downhearted as the door to the NSG is not tightly closed,” it said in a first such reference by China in recent months since the two counties differed on the issue.
“But any future discussions need to be based on safeguarding an international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism, in which India itself has a huge stake,” it said.
However the commentary did not mention whether Wang, who begins a three-day visit to India today, will be carrying any new proposals to assuage India’s disappointment over its failed bid to get NSG membership despite having majority support in the grouping.
The commentary also wanted India to understand China’s concerns over the South China Sea, where Beijing is on the back foot specially after the verdict of the international tribunal striking down its expansive claims over the area.
The US, Australia and Japan besides the Philippines which won the case asked China to implement the verdict saying that it is binding. Beijing, which boycotted the tribunal’s proceeding however termed it as illegal and null and void.
Referring to the joint communique issued at the recent meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, India, and China (RIC) in Moscow, the commentary said “India agreed that the South China Sea issue should be addressed through talks between the parties concerned”.
“Given that the South China Sea correlates with China’s vital national interests, it is hoped that India would fully comprehend Beijing’s concerns, and continue to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific,” it said.
Wang’s visit comes ahead of next month’s G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to take part.
An article in the state-run Global Times earlier said India should avoid getting “unnecessarily entangled” in the South China Sea (SCS) debate to prevent it becoming yet “another factor” to impact bilateral ties.
China has been making the case that the G20 summit should avoid any references to the SCS asserting that it should be resolved directly by the parties concerned not by outsiders.
Besides the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have counter claims over the area.
While Modi is due to attend the G20 meeting, President Xi Jinping is also scheduled to attend the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) summit in Goa in October.
“Many believe the (Wang’s) trip aims to help rasp off the rough edges of the relationship between the world’s two leading developing countries, and build up consensus ahead of two important summits, the Group of 20 meeting in China and the BRICS gathering in India, to be held in the coming months,” the Xinhua commentary said.
“China and India are partners, not rivals, and as long as they can properly handle their differences with sincerity and political dexterity, bilateral ties will grow stronger while the two become a force for good around the world,” it said.
“At the same time, the world’s two fastest-growing economies should maintain their positive momentum on bilateral ties that has been maintained in recent years, further deepen cooperation, especially in trade and commerce, and foster an even closer partnership.
“At a time of lacklustre global economic recovery, the two countries should team up to fend off trade protectionism, and make substantial efforts to bring the world’s economic house in order at the two key summits and beyond,” it said.
“As key emerging markets, the two nations, by standing together hand-in-hand can be a strong voice for the developing world, and render the global economic governance system fairer and more just.
“When it comes to addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges such as climate change, the fight against terrorism and food security, the two most populous BRICS members share great potential to do even more,” it said.