BEIJING: China on Sunday said the border dispute with India has been "contained" and the Indian elephant and Chinese dragon should "do more" to strengthen the bilateral cooperation to facilitate its settlement.
Addressing his annual press conference on the sidelines of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, foreign minister Wang Yi said a warm welcome awaited Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he makes his first visit to China later this year.
"Last September, President Xi Jinping made an historic visit to India. Picture of the two leaders working at a spinning wheel in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister, has spread far and wide in China," Wang said in response to a question from PTI about the India-China relations at a nationally-televised crowded press conference.
India, China bound by 'unbreakable bond', Narendra Modi says
"Chinese people believe in reciprocating the courtesy of others. I am sure when Prime Minister Modi visits China later this year, he will be warmly welcomed by the Chinese government and people," he said.
Terming the "China-India boundary question, a legacy of history", Wang said: "We have worked on it for many years and made some progress in the boundary negotiations.
"The dispute has been contained. At the moment, the boundary negotiations is in the process of building up small positive developments. It is like climbing a mountain and the going is tough because we are on the way up."
"This is all the more reason that we do more to strengthen China-India cooperation so that we can enable and facilitate the settlement of the boundary question," he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi before starting the talks at Hyderabad House in Delhi (TOI Photo by Anindya Chattopadhyay)
Invoking one of China's erstwhile top leaders, Deng Xiaoping who said that unless India and China are developed, there will be no Asian century, Wang said: "China is prepared to work with India to implement important agreements reached by our leaders."
"Chinese dragon and Indian elephant should join in a duet to work for the early revitalization of two ancient civilizations, common prosperity of the two emerging markets and amicable co-existence of two large neighbours," he said.
Modi is expected to visit China before May 6, around the time when his government completes one year in office.