New Delhi: In the shadow of the nuclear deal between the US and Russia, the two sides have agreed to convene a summit on Friday (20 September) in New Delhi to discuss ways of reviving economic ties.
But while the two leaders have agreed on a number of issues, including trade and the North-South divide, they remain apart over the issue of sovereignty over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Both countries are currently locked in a territorial dispute over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands in the disputed East China Seas, which are claimed by Japan, China, Taiwan and other countries.
Both the US president and the prime minister of Japan have repeatedly said they oppose any form of sovereignty or territorial dispute on the islands, which Beijing regards as its own.
In response to the disputed islands issue, both China and Russia have moved to strengthen their militaries, as well as deploying aircraft, warships and troops in the region.
China’s navy, which was seen as its main military asset during the Cold War, has been steadily increasing its presence in the area, particularly in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
However, both Beijing and Moscow have expressed concern over China’s growing military capabilities, which include submarines, cruise missiles, long-range ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and anti-ship cruise missiles.
China and Russia also accuse each other of conducting military exercises that violate the agreements reached during the 2015 Beijing-Moscow summit on denuclearisation, including by China’s move to build an artificial island in the South China Sea, which the US disputes.
The US has also said that China has been “trying to undermine the [peace] process” through military exercises in the waters around the islands and has accused it of violating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) rules on maritime security.
The two sides also have repeatedly clashed over the status of the South and East China seas, with China refusing to recognise any of the islands as part of its territory.
The deal has also been criticised by some in the Chinese leadership, who say the agreement could undermine the two countries’ economic and security ties.
China has also expressed concern about the US’s increasing military presence in its region.
Last week, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the G20 summit in Germany, where they discussed the crisis in the Korean Peninsula and a trade agreement between the two nations.
The White House said both leaders “expressed deep concern about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile activities and shared a desire to strengthen ties”.
It added that they also discussed the region’s regional security environment, including the risks of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Washington also said it will send a representative to the summit.
On Friday, US Vice President Mike Pence will fly to New Delhi and will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.
India, a major US trading partner, has long been concerned about China’s territorial claims in the Asian and Pacific regions, especially in the Indian Ocean.
It has been accused of violating UN Security Council resolutions and imposing economic sanctions on the Chinese.
In February, India and China reached a landmark agreement to curb trade in services.
However the US has maintained that the agreement did not cover defence.