Friday, October 05, 2007

China's border with India is quietest in years: Chinese experts

Beijing, Oct 5 (Xinhua) China has signed land border treaties with 12 of its 14 neighbours, with most of the border disputes settled - and is currently negotiating with India and Bhutan to resolve boundary issues.
'China now shares the most peaceful borders with its neighbours since the republic was established in 1949,' says Teng Jianqun, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.
China's southwest boundary with India is friendlier than it ever was. From busy passes to lonely check posts high in the Himalayas, Chinese personnel are engaged in improving their relations with border guards on the Indian side.
China and India fought over the border in 1962 and the mutual hostility affected bilateral relations for decades until the end of the 20th Century.
The year 2000 marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and India, which helped to resume military ties.
In June 2006, the Nathu La pass, a century-old trading post that sits at 4,545 metres above sea level between Tibet in China and Sikkim in India, was reopened after being closed for 40 years.
Jin Guangyong, a soldier at a check post along the boundary, says Indian soldiers often shout 'hello' to greet Chinese soldiers.
Isolated by snow for eight months a year, the two check posts separated by a canyon, are the only signs of human habitation, clinging to the black and bare mountain.
'I can feel their loneliness, since we also suffer. We respond to their greetings. Even the guard dogs bark at each other,' Jin says.
But, Major Ai Huaichun remembers a fight when troops from the two sides confronted each other a decade ago.
'In the 1990s, meetings usually ended in arguments that solved nothing. The two parties would argue for hours whether a soldier had trespassed or not,' says Ai, who served as an interpreter at joint meetings for 11 years.
'Now, border meetings have become more friendly. And the two sides reflect on progress of the Sino-Indian relations and plan for further exchanges,' Ai said.