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Next round of boundary talks with India in ‘due course’: Chinese foreign ministry

Diplomatic engagements are expected in December with the visit of China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi

China on Friday said that the next round of border talks with India will take place in “due course”, but praised the apex Special Representatives (SR) mechanism for its role in addressing the boundary row between the two neighbours.

In response to a question, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also said that as of now, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will continue to function as China’s Special Representative at the boundary talks. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is Mr. Yang’s counterpart in this dialogue.

“I have not heard about any changes in the Special Representative on the Chinese side”, Ms. Hua said. Mr. Yang has been elevated from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to the 25-member Politburo, during last month’s 19th Party Congress.

There has been speculation about Mr. Yang, a former Foreign Minister, taking on higher responsibilities in the diplomatic domain during President Xi Jinping’s second term in office. On Wednesday, Mr. Yang was in the limelight when he received visiting U.S President Donald Trump at the airport.

Analysts say that China’s new leadership, as well as senior bureaucrats, are assigned specific responsibilities only in March when the National People’s Congress-China’s parliament-holds its annual session.

Media reports say that the next round of boundary talks will be held in India next month. A new round of India-China diplomatic engagements following the Xiamen summit in September between Mr. Xi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is expected to get rolling in December with the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi. Mr. Wang is expected to participate in the Russia-India-China (RIC) conclave, which India is hosting.

Ms. Hua lauded the SR mechanism, which she said in its previous round, had made “positive progress”.

“Now this mechanism is operating very well. The two sides will decide the date and time for this year’s meeting in due course”, she observed.

Referring to the RIC meeting, Ms. Hua underscored that, “We highly value this mechanism.” She stressed that China supports India in hosting this meeting. “According to my information the three parties are in communication to this specific issue,” she observed.

Ms. Hua was non-committal about a possible meeting between Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Mr. Modi at the sidelines of the upcoming East Asia Summit in the Philippines. She said, “So far I have no specific information to offer. Various parties can keep communication, if they would like to meet,” she said.

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