BEIJING: Ahead of Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to India, China's state-run media today said the door for India's admission into the NSG is "not tightly" closed and New Delhi should "fully comprehend" Beijing's concerns over the disputed South China Sea.
Terming that India and China are partners not rivals, a commentary by state-run Xinhua news agency said "as Beijing and New Delhi head into a season of intensive top-level diplomatic encounters that could well define the future of their partnership, the two need to work together to keep their disagreements in check".
"What should be noted above all else is that India has wrongly blamed China for blocking its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)," it said.
"So far, there is no precedent for a non-Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory to become a NSG member. Many inside the body that monitors the global flow of nuclear materials insist prudence in handing a membership card to any non-treaty party," it said in apparent reference to China's persistent demand that signing the NPT is a must for the entry of new members into the 48-member body which controls global nuclear commerce.
"However, New Delhi should not be downhearted as the door to the NSG is not tightly closed," it said in a first such reference by China in recent months since the two counties differed on the issue.
"But any future discussions need to be based on safeguarding an international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism, in which India itself has a huge stake," it said.
However the commentary did not mention whether Wang, who begins a three-day visit to India today, will be carrying any new proposals to assuage India's disappointment over its failed bid to get NSG membership despite having majority support in the grouping.
The commentary also wanted India to understand China's concerns over the South China Sea, where Beijing is on the back foot specially after the verdict of the international tribunal striking down its expansive claims over the area.
The US, Australia and Japan besides the Philippines which won the case asked China to implement the verdict saying that it is binding.
Beijing, which boycotted the tribunal's proceeding however termed it as illegal and null and void.
Referring to the joint communique issued at the recent meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, India, and China (RIC) in Moscow, the commentary said "India agreed that the South China Sea issue should be addressed through talks between the parties concerned".
"Given that the South China Sea correlates with China's vital national interests, it is hoped that India would fully comprehend Beijing's concerns, and continue to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific," it said.