China on Thursday cautiously welcomed India hosting leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) on its Republic Day, which many see as a move by New Delhi to counter Beijing’s influence in the region.
Beijing said it was “okay” with New Delhi developing friendly and cooperative ties with the 10-member bloc. It said a section of the Indian media was obsessed with China.
“China is open to all countries developing friendly relations. So, we are okay with India developing friendly and cooperative relations with Asean countries,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
“We hope all countries can work together for peace, stability and development of the region. We can all play a constructive role in the regard,” Hua said.
Last year, India invited the leaders of Asean countries to attend its Republic Day celebrations. Most Asean leaders have already gathered in New Delhi to attend the function.
Experts say New Delhi’s intent to deepen ties with the bloc has also to do with countering China.
China is gradually winning over its foes in the bloc like the Philippines and Vietnam who are claimants to the disputed South China Sea.
Reacting to the view, Hua said this was a media creation.
“In recent days some Indian media seems to have cultivated a habit. They will link their domestic affairs with China,” Hua said.
“I don’t know what the Indian leadership think of that. But I want to say that India media is not very confident and they don’t trust us.”