Monday, 23 May, 2022

‘China to work with India to ease border tension’

Beijing: China on Thursday said it will work “closely” with India to properly handle the ongoing border tension as it strongly criticised the United States for saying it was concerned by Beijing’s attempts to coerce its neighbours, including India, reports Hindustan Times.   

The Chinese defence ministry said the border problem is a bilateral matter and both China and India oppose interference from a third party.Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said, “…some American politicians are so fond of using the word ‘coerce’ that they seem to have forgotten that the US is the inventor and master player of ‘coercive diplomacy’.”

China neither “coerces” nor is “coerced” by others, and strongly opposes the US forcing “coercive diplomacy” on other countries, Wu said at the monthly defence ministry press conference on Thursday.

Wu was referring to comments made by the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, ahead of the 14th round of military talks between India and China on January 12 to resolve the ongoing tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

“We’ve been pretty clear how we view Beijing’s behaviour in the region and around the world. We believe it can be destabilising. And we’re concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s attempt to intimidate its neighbours,” Psaki said.   

“We continue to support dialogue and peaceful resolution of these border disputes,” she said, adding, “We’ll continue to stand with our partners on that.”

Referring to the China-India border issue, Wu stressed that the Chinese side believed that the last round of talks were positive and constructive.

“…China will work closely with the Indian side to properly handle the border issue through negotiation and consultation,” Wu was quoted as saying by the official China Military Online website.

Referring to the joint statement issued after the talks, Wu said the two sides agreed that they should follow the guidance provided by the leaders of the two countries and work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest.

“Second, the two sides agreed to consolidate the previous outcomes and take effective efforts to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the western sector including in winter,” Wu said.

“Third, they agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest,” he said, adding that the two sides also agreed that the next round of the Commanders’ talks should be held at the earliest.

Indian and Chinese border troops have been locked in a border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 2020, when a violent clash in Pangong lake area led to both sides gradually deploying tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry along the border.

Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks have only resulted in partial disengagement of troops until now.

India has repeatedly and consistently rejected China’s allegations that Indian troops crossed over to the Chinese side of the LAC in eastern Ladakh, asserting that New Delhi has always taken a responsible approach towards border management and maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas.