China, India diplomats meet amid tensions over Kashmir

Top Indian and Chinese diplomats have met in Beijing amid increased tensions over New Delhi's move to change the legal status of territory it controls in Kashmir, part of which China claims as its own.

China's official Xinhua News Agency said Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Beijing on Monday that China hopes India will "play a constructive role in regional peace and stability."

Xinhua cited Jaishankar as saying India would "abide by the consensus reached with China on maintaining peace in the border and continue to work with China to properly solve the border issue through consultations."

The countries went to war in 1962 over their disputed border and their armed forces engaged in a 10-week standoff in the neighboring state of Bhutan in 2017.

China claims some 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of territory in India's northeast, while India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas, including the Ladakh region, which New Delhi this month made into a territory separate from the rest of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The visit to China by the Indian foreign minister came shortly after that by his counterpart from Pakistan — India's main rival and a close Chinese ally. Pakistan is seeking Chinese support in opening a United Nations inquiry into India's revocation last week of Kashmir's statehood, splitting it into two federal territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The Indian authorities argued that Kashmir's special status had cultivated a sense of separatism that was easy for Pakistan to exploit and was holding back the region's economic development.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that Jaishankar told Wang that legal moves regarding Kashmir were India's "internal" matter that had no bearing on its external boundaries or relations with China.

It said the minister also met with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, a top adviser to Chinese leader Xi Jinping on foreign and economic policy.