china: India not ‘strategic rival or competitor’ for China, says Chinese envoy

China’s top diplomat in Bangladesh Li Jiming said on Wednesday that his country does not have any “strategic rivalry” with India and does not want to see a “heavily armed” Bay of Bengal.

Li also said that India and China can closely work together to resolve any economic, geopolitical and other issues in this region and beyond.

“We never view India as a strategic rival or strategic competitor of China,” Ambassador Li said during an interaction with diplomatic correspondents based here.

“Personally, I’m a big fan of India. We can work together more closely to solve economic and geopolitical issues,” he added.

He said Beijing “does not want to see the Bay of Bengal as heavily armed.”

In an apparent reference to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he said Beijing expected all stakeholders in the South Asia to play a positive role and it also wanted them not to act “the way some countries are doing (currently) in Europe”.

The diplomat’s comments comes on a day when External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed to outgoing Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi Sun Weidong that peace and tranquillity in the border areas are essential for normal ties between India and China.

India and China are locked in a lingering border standoff in eastern Ladakh for over 29 months. The bilateral relationship came under severe strain following the deadly clash in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh in June, 2020.

The envoy said that China’s basic intention was to resolve all regional disputes in an “Asian way” instead of heeding western suggestions.

“We (China) believe, we should solve our regional problems in Asian way, not by (following) standard practice in Europe or South America,” he said.

The envoy said Beijing was keen to work closely with Bangladesh as well to ensure development, peace and stability in the region.

He said being an economic powerhouse accounting for 18.5 per cent of world economy China was always committed to joint development with neighboring countries, including Bangladesh.

On the Rohingya crisis, Li said China is putting in efforts for early repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland Myanmar.

The envoy also talked about debt management, global development initiative, trade and investment issues.

“There is no Chinese debt trap in Bangladesh. There is no Chinese debt trap globally,” the ambassador asserted.

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