- The problems that people in the West think are hard might be easy to solve with Eastern knowledge. We hope that China and India will show the way
- Before that, he was the deputy commander of the People's Liberation Army's Strategic Support Force, which was in charge of the country's missile systems.
China’s Defense Minister General Li Shangfu will go to India this week to attend a meeting of SCO defense ministers starting April 27. While there, he is expected to talk with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh about ending the long-running standoff in eastern Ladakh, which has put a lot of strain on relations between the two countries.
Gen. Li is thought to be a close friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping. His trip to India is seen as important because it comes during a tense standoff between the forces of India and China in eastern Ladakh that has been going on since May 2020.
China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a statement, “Upon invitation, Chinese State Councillor and Defense Minister General Li Shangfu will attend the meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in New Delhi, India, on April 27 and 28.”
“During the meeting, General Li will speak to the conference and meet with the heads of delegations from relevant countries to talk about the international and regional situation as well as defense and security cooperation,” a statement said.
Most people think that Gen. Li will meet with Defence Minister Singh to talk about how the military and political talks to end the standoff are going so far.
Before Gen. Li’s visit, the Chinese defense ministry said good things about the 18th round of the China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting, which took place on April 23 on the Chinese side of the border at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point.
It said that both sides had agreed to “speed up” the resolution of “relevant issues” linked to the long standoff in eastern Ladakh and to keep the peace in the border areas.
A statement from the Defense Ministry said that the two sides talked about important problems in a friendly and open way.
“Under the direction of the leaders of the two countries and based on the results of the meeting between the two foreign ministers, both sides agreed to keep in close contact and talk through military and diplomatic channels, speed up the settlement of relevant issues on the western section of the China-India border, and continue to keep peace and quiet in the border areas,” it said.
Mao Ning, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters in Beijing on Monday that the two sides had a deep conversation about how to solve problems quickly.
“According to the important agreement that the leaders of both countries came to, the two sides had a deep conversation about how to solve important problems quickly,” Ning said.
In a statement released on Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the two sides had a “frank and in-depth” talk about how to solve “relevant” problems along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western sector.
“The two sides agreed to stay in close contact, keep talking through military and diplomatic channels, and solve the remaining problems as soon as possible in a way that is acceptable to both sides,” the MEA said.
Outside of a G20 meeting in New Delhi on March 2, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met with his Chinese colleague, Qin Gang, to talk. During the meeting, Jaishankar told Qin that the way things are between India and China is “abnormal.”
The last time the two sides’ top Army leaders talked was about four months ago. The talks on Sunday were the second round of talks between the two sides.
At the 16th round of military talks, both sides agreed to pull out of Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area. This was done in September of last year.
The talks between the Corps Commanders were set up to solve the problem in eastern Ladakh. On May 5, 2020, there was a brutal fight near Pangong Lake, which led to the eastern Ladakh border standoff.
After a big fight in the Galwan Valley in June 2020, which was the two countries’ worst military fight in decades, relations between the two countries went downhill fast.
After a number of military and political talks, the two sides have finished the process of pulling back their troops from the north and south sides of Pangong Lake and the Gogra area.
In an editorial, the state-run newspaper Global Times said that the content of the relationship between China and India is broad and deep and shouldn’t be tied to or limited by border problems.
“The problems that people in the West think are hard might be easy to solve with Eastern knowledge. We hope that China and India will show the way,” it said.
General Li was a veteran of the aerospace branch of the military. From 2017 to 2022, he was in charge of the equipment development department of the Central Military Commission, which is the top military body in China. Before that, he was the deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army’s Strategic Support Force, which was in charge of the country’s missile systems.
In 2018, the US government put Gen Li and the Equipment Development Department on a list of people who should not do business with because they helped China buy Russia’s Su-35 battle aircraft and equipment for the S-400 surface-to-air missile system.