China supports larger role for India at UN

April 1st, 2005  

Topic: China supports larger role for India at UN



NEW DELHI (AFP) - China supports a bigger role for India in the United Nations and the UN Security Council, China's ambassador to New Delhi said ahead of next week's landmark visit by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.

"We would like to see India play a bigger role at the UN as well as the Security Council," said China's envoy to New Delhi, Sun Yuxi, on Friday.

But Sun stopped short of expressing any direct support for India's candidature for a permanent UN Security Council seat.

"People in the UN are now discussing it (expansion of the UN Security Council)... there are many different ideas...I don't want to make any specific remark on that... I don't want to influence it in any way," he said.

Japan, India, Germany and Brazil have launched a joint bid to win permanent seats on the Security Council. Veto-wielding power is currently in the hands of five powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- in a system rewarding the winners of World War II.

Meanwhile, Sun said the border between India and China, which has been at the heart of a decades-old dispute, should become a "bridge" for friendship between Asia's two most populous countries.

"Our major effort is to keep our border as peaceful and tranquil areas," Sun said.

"We have a common border. We want that the border becomes a bridge for exchanges and friendship," he said.

India and China fought a brief but bitter border war in 1962 and have not established a formal ceasefire line since then.

New Delhi accuses Beijing of occupying 38,000 square kilometres (14,670 square miles) of territory in Kashmir while Beijing claims 90,000 square kilometres -- all of Arunachal Pradesh state.

On Friday, Sun said Arunachal Pradesh was "a disputed area" between India and China.

In recent years, New Delhi and Beijing have played down their territorial dispute to focus on improving commercial and other ties.

Relations improved dramatically after a visit to China by then-prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2003, during which India acknowledged Tibet as a part of China and Beijing gave up its territorial claim over the tiny Indian state of Sikkim.

Senior officials from India and China met in Beijing this week to discuss issues related to the boundary.

Sun Friday said Chinese special representative Dai Bingguo would meet India's National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan for talks on the boundary issue either before or during Wen's visit.

Wen will arrive in India on April 9 and visit the IT showcase city of Bangalore, Sun said.

He will meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for talks on April 11 and sign more than a dozen agreements including pacts for enhancing economic cooperation and a new cultural exchange programme, the envoy said.

Sun said a Free Trade Area (FTA) was also being proposed between the two countries.

"If achieved, it will be the largest FTA in the world."

Bilateral trade between the Asian giants exceeded 13 billion dollars in 2004 compared to a few hundred million dollars in the 1990s.