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|Saturday, January 13, 2001, updated at 20:41(GMT+8)|
Chinese Top Legislator Explains India PolicyVisiting Chinese top legislator Li Peng on Saturday expounded on China's policy towards India, stressing that the two countries have ample reason to develop their friendship and become good neighbors as common ground far outweighs differences between them.
While addressing more than 300 dignitaries at the Indian International Center, the chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC) called on the two countries to elevate their relations to a new height in the 21st century as "required by reality."
"Being the two largest developing countries in the world, China and India have extensive common interests in international political and economic arena," he said, adding that both countries favor a multi-polar world and share identical or similar positions on many major issues.
Meanwhile, he said, both countries face the difficult task of maodernization and rapidly improving living standards and as neighbors, they need a peaceful and stable surrounding environment and need to live in amity.
Li then explained some basic points of China's India policy, saying China places emphasis on keeping good-neighborly and friendly relations with India, an important neighbor of China.
"Developing such ties with India is China's consistent guiding principle and an essential part of its foreign policy of peace with surrounding nations," he emphasized.
Li made it clear that China has never taken India as a threat. "Nor do we intend to pose a threat to other countries or seek any sphere of influence," he added.
China hopes to expand cooperation in trade, economy and international affairs and to increase mutual understanding and trust with India, Li said.
Despite a 10-fold increase in two-way trade volume in the past decade, Li said that the current level of cooperation in this field is far from commensurate with the scale of the two countries' respective economies and there is still huge potential yet to be tapped through concerted efforts.
On cooperation in international affairs, Li said China stands ready to strengthen cooperation with its South Asian neighbor in this respect.
Fully affirming the cooperation the two nations have conducted in global political and economic areas, he said, China maintains that they have the obligation and capability to work more actively to play their due part in the international arena.
China attaches importance to enhancing mutual understanding and trust with India, Li said, adding that as the two countries are still lacking in mutual understanding, China has taken the achievement of better understanding and trust with India as "a pressing task" in developing bilateral relations.
"While not shying away from the problems and differences between us, we hope that far-sighted statesmen of our two countries will demonstrate courage and will and make efforts to resolve these problems and differences," he said.
"Problems of this kind or another, including those left over from history, should not become impediments to the growth of our bilateral relationship and that the positive development of our ties will create more favorable conditions for the ultimate resolution of these problems and differences."
China wishes to see a prosperous, developed and strong India and welcomes a more active role of the South Asian nation in regional and international affairs, Li said.
He said China was pleased to notice that the Indian economy has obtained an average annual growth rate of 6 percent over the past 10 years and its industry of information technology has recorded rapid growth with its software industry taking the forefront of the world.
China is ready to maintain and develop good-neighborly relations with all countries in South Asia and sincerely hopes to see enduring peace, stability and development in the region, where all countries can treat each other as equals, live in harmony and settle disputes peacefully through dialogue, Li said.
Li arrived in India Tuesday for a week-long official goodwill visit.
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