China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed hope that India has learned a lesson from a recent border conflict and would avoid such episodes in the future, ahead of a summit meeting in China next week.
“We’re hoping that their side will learn lessons from this incident and prevent some of the things from happening again. We hope that through the efforts of both sides, we will maintain healthy and stable relations,” Wang said on Wednesday. He did not explain.
The two countries agreed on Monday to withdraw troops from a disputed Himalayan plateau where China, India, and Bhutan join.
The standoff on disputed border had lasted for more than two moths, and the resolution came just ahead of a summit of the BRICS group of nations next Sunday. Apart from China and India, the grouping includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa.
Both India and China said their troops would continue to patrol in the Doklam area as they did before the face-off.
The resolution of the conflict seemed to have been timed to prevent the most serious confrontation between the nuclear-armed neighbors in decades from overshadowing the BRICS summit.
To be held in the city of Xiamen in China, the summit will be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Wang said it was normal for the neighbors — the world’s two most populous nations — to have differences.
“What’s important is that we put these problems in the appropriate place, and appropriately handle and control them in the spirit of mutual respect and based on the consensus of both countries’ leaders,” Wang said.
“There is huge potential for cooperation between China and India,” he said.
The recent border dispute in the Himalayan region began when India deployed soldiers to halt Chinese construction of a road in the remote, uninhabited territory of Doklam, which is claimed by both China and Bhutan.
China and India have a series of disagreements other than the festering border dispute, which also covers areas at the other end of their frontier close to Pakistan.
Modi has refused to join Chinese president’s signature Belt and Road initiative to knit together Asia and beyond, making India the lone nation to boycott a summit on the issue in Beijing in May.
New Delhi is also skeptical of Beijing’s close ties with archrival Pakistan, as well as its increasing military activities in and around the Indian Ocean.
Tibetan leader Dalai Lama, who lives in India, is another source of dispute between the two countries.