"An early settlement serves the interests of both China and India. It is a strategic objective set by the two governments," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

India and China will hold their 17th round of Special Representative talks on the boundary issue in New Delhi on February 10-11, the first meeting since the countries inked the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) last year.

The talks will be led by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

"China is ready to work with the Indian government to advance the process of negotiations so as to achieve a fair and reasonable framework acceptable to both sides in order to make the border areas into a bridge and bond between the two peoples to facilitate their exchanges and communication," Hong said.

He was responding to a question that talks have not achieved anything significant since 2005 when the two countries signed an agreement on political parameters to resolve the boundary issue.

Hong said the two sides have done a lot of work to resolve the vexed dispute during the last 16 rounds of talks.

"The boundary question between India and China is a left-over from history. Over the years, the two sides have done a lot of work to achieve a settlement of the issue,” he said.

"On an adhoc level, we have exchanged in-depth views on the issue and positive progress has been achieved" during 16 rounds of talks since 2003 when the mechanism of the Special Representatives meeting was established, he said.

"The two sides have reiterated that the boundary question should not overshadow the overall development of the bilateral relations," he said elaborating on efforts by both the counties not to let the dispute impede the progress of bilateral ties,” he added.

"Pending the final settlement of the boundary question, the two sides should work to uphold peace and tranquility of the border areas," he said.

(Agencies)

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