China, India to hold new round of talks over long-standing border dispute

China and India will hold a new round of talks over a long-standing border dispute in February, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday. The announcement comes one day after Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran met China's Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei in Beijing.

"The two governments will proceed from the overall development of friendly relations ... and make positive efforts to promote the process of border issue talks," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan.

He said the talks will begin late February in India. The agenda will be set through diplomatic channels, Kong said. The border issue has long been a point of contention in Chinese and Indian officials, who have held several rounds of talks since 2003 on 125,000 square kilometers (50,000 square miles) of disputed territory along their mountainous frontier.

Relations have also been riddled with problems over competition over overseas oil and gas reserves and India's wariness about China's growing military might.

The two Asian powers, which account for more than a third of the world's population, decided last year to build closer diplomatic and economic ties. To seal their new partnership, they agreed to resolve their border dispute, and cooperate in trade, technology and military, reports the AP. I.L.

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