“On the basis of deeper mutual trust, our two countries can further deepen our mutual understanding and construct a new type of relations between major countries, promote healthy and sound development of China and India. That will be a true blessing for Asia and the world,” said Li.
In a written statement on his arrival in the Indian capital, Li said China regarded India as an important partner and friend and expressed hope that his visit would inject new vigour into bilateral relations, reported the Press Trust of India.
“World peace… cannot be a reality without strategic co-operation between India and China,” he said.
But at an informal meeting on Sunday night, Singh expressed concern that relations were affected when “peace and tranquillity” on the border was impacted last month, a senior government officials with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.
The world’s two most populous nations disagree about large areas on their ill-defined border and fought a brief but bloody war across it 50 years ago. Although there have been no shooting incidents for decades, both sides maintain a large military presence and often patrol inside disputed areas.
The standoff was eventually resolved peacefully, but it has drawn renewed attention to the risks of conflict between the neighbours. Despite periodic flare-ups, the two countries have still not agreed on where their border lies – and India accuses China of occupying large swathes of its territory.
Sujit Dutta, a China expert at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, said Beijing could become more assertive in such disputes under its new leadership.
“As Beijing’s new leadership is making a concerted effort to challenge India’s territorial assertions, India will have to plan new attempts to bridge the perceptional distances between these two huge neighbours,” Dutta told AFP.
Chinese diplomats, however, appeared eager to signal that the border dispute, which received little attention in the Chinese news media but widespread coverage in India, should not cloud the visit.
Qin Gang, the director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Information Department in Beijing, who was in New Delhi to prepare for the visit last week, said that the episode was “isolated” and that it should not be allowed to affect the overall relationship.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said last week that bilateral trade reached $66 billion in 2012, setting a goal of $100 billion by 2015.