China re-invokes Panchsheel to address India’s concerns on CPEC

China on Thursday re-invoked the doctrine of Panchsheel — the five principle of peaceful co-existence — as the template for addressing India’s concerns over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

In response to a question, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, citing remarks by President Xi Jinping at the recently concluded Belt and Road Forum (BRF), said that the five principles of peaceful cooperation along the Belt and Road should be the basis for addressing India’s concerns.

India had decided to skip the BRF hosted by China on the grounds that CPEC — an economic corridor with Pakistan, infringed New Delhi’s sovereignty as it passed through Kashmir.

Ms. Hua stressed that “We would like to follow the five principles of coexistence in developing friendly relations with other countries, including our efforts in promoting regional connectivity.”

“I am sure you would have noticed that during the Belt and Road Forum of International Cooperation, President Xi also said that we would follow the principle of peaceful coexistence to promote friendly cooperation along the Belt and Road. So I think in this way the concerns from the Indian side must be addressed,” she added.

In his address on Sunday, Mr. Xi had said that five principles of peaceful coexistence — the brainchild of China, India and Myanmar in the 1950s — should be the mantra for advancing the Belt and Road Initiative and as a vehicle for achieving sustainable globalisation.

In his keynote address, President Xi highlighted that China “will enhance friendship and cooperation with all countries in the world on the Belt and Road Initiative on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence.”

Mr. Xi had stressed that China had “no intention to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, export our own social system or model of development, or impose our own will on others.”

The five principles cited by the Chinese President are: mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.

A note posted on the Chinese foreign ministry website says that in June 1954, Premier Zhou Enlai visited India and Burma, now Myanmar. “The joint Statement of the Prime Ministers of China and India issued on 28 June and the Joint Statement of the Prime Ministers of China and Burma issued on 29 June both affirmed that the Five Principles of Peaceful Existence as guiding principles in their bilateral relations and the Five Principles were formally proposed as the norms governing international relations.”

Separately, a speech by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during the Asian Prime Ministers Conference in Colombo had also cited Panchsheel as the touchstone of peaceful international relations.

Ms. Hua highlighted that the “CPEC is an important part of the Belt and Road (that) will bring benefits to regional connectivity and common development and prosperity.”

Regarding the status of Kashmir, she reiterated “As we said before, it is an issue between India and Pakistan and the Belt and Road initiative will not change China’s position on the Kashmir issue.”

On Tuesday China had said that its “doors will always remain open” for India’s participation in the BRI, notwithstanding New Delhi’s decision not to participate in a two-day brainstorming forum that had concluded the previous day.

“Doors will always remain open. We will always welcome the participation from the Indian side,” Ms. Hua had observed.





Source:- The Hindu

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