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Don’t trespass to achieve political ends, China tells India

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-07-2017 Elizabeth Roche

New Delhi: India should not “trespass” into the Doklam area at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan and use it as a “policy tool” to achieve its “political targets”, China said on Tuesday, demanding that New Delhi immediately withdraw its troops to avoid any escalation.

The Chinese foreign ministry also said it was in “close communication” with foreign missions in Beijing on the standoff with India, but refused to confirm whether it held a special briefing for them on the issue, a PTI report from Beijing said.

This comes as an editorial in a Chinese state-run news website warned that China needs to prepare for the standoff with India near the Sikkim sector becoming a long-term situation as it also cautioned that more such conflicts can trigger “an all out confrontation” along the entire Line of Actual Control.

In his remarks at a daily briefing, Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesman Lu Kang said, “Since the illegal trespass by Indian border personnel, many foreign diplomats in China felt shocked about this and (wanted) to confirm whether it was true.”

“The Chinese side maintains close communication with the foreign diplomatic missions on the issues they are interested,” Kang told reporters.

The standoff between Indian and Chinese armies has continued for a month over the construction of a road by China near the tri-junction.

India has expressed concern over the road construction, fearing it may allow Chinese troops to cut India’s access to its northeastern states. Given the sensitivity of the situation, India has rushed additional troops to the area—which China claims is its Donglang area.

It has conveyed to China that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India. Asked if China stated in the reported meeting that its patience was wearing thin, Lu said Beijing stressed that the “facts are very clear in this incident”.

“This time Indian border personnel illegally trespassed the boundary into the Chinese territory,” Lu said, adding: “We stress that the Indian side should not take the trespass as a policy tool to reach or realize their political targets,” he said.

To another question on whether Beijing has stated that patience was running out over the issue, he said, “We have reiterated our position on the illegal trespass by the Indian side... You must be very clear about it. We hope the Indian side can get clear understanding of the current situation and take immediate measures to withdraw the personnel who have illegally crossed the boundary so as to avoid the escalation,” he said.

Separately, in an opinion piece, the Chinese state-run daily The Global Times said that if India “stirs up conflicts in several spots, it must face the consequence of an all-out confrontation with China along the entire LAC (Line of Actual Control)”.

“China doesn’t advocate and tries hard to avoid a military clash with India, but China doesn’t fear going to war to safeguard sovereignty either, and will make itself ready for a long-term confrontation, said

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