Chinese mouthpiece shrills the pitch on Ladakh standoff, refers to US ties

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A Chinese government mouthpiece has said Beijing will not give up an inch of territory but wants “good-neighbourly relations” with New Delhi even as it warned India must not be “fooled by Washington”.

The comments were published in an editorial of the Global Times ahead of Saturday’s crucial talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders on the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

“China does not want to fall foul of India. Good-neighbourly relations have been China’s basic national policy over the past decades, and China firmly adheres to a peaceful resolution of border disputes. We have no reason to make India our enemy,” the editorial said on Friday.

“But China will not give up any inch of territory. Once India makes a strategic misjudgment and nibbles away at China’s territory, China will never condone it. China is bound to make strong countermeasures. We believe India knows very well that China will not be at a disadvantage in any China-India military operations along the border area,” it said.

The daily said India will enjoy a peaceful international environment with China-India cooperation.

“But if the two countries face a showdown on the border issue, the entire Himalayan region and the Indian subcontinent will face instability. No external force can change this. Maintaining peace along border areas and friendly cooperation is in line with the two countries’ interests,” it added.

India should not be fooled by the US, the editorial also said, as the US is only trying to “serve its own strategic interest”.

“Washington is keen on placing a wedge between countries and drawing countries to its own side. But this serves the US’ strategic pressure on China, instead of other countries’ geopolitical interests,” it said.

“Washington looks forward to the China-India dispute in order to gain from it. The US supports India every time China and India have conflicts to encourage New Delhi’s confrontation against Beijing and to hype new border disputes.”

India, the editorial said, should return the favour “instead of being fooled by Washington”.

“China’s strategic situation is not that terrible. Since we do not fear US suppression, how can we allow some force to use US support to make trouble for China?” it asked.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a bitter face-off in several areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) following violent clashes between hundreds of Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim and Ladakh sectors last month. Army officers of the two sides have held several meetings along the disputed border but have been unable to break the impasse.

Lieutenant Gen Harinder Singh, 14 Corps Commander, will represent the Indian delegation while Major General Liu Lin, who is the commander of South Xinjiang Military Region, and 10 other officers of the People’s Liberation Army, will represent China.

The two sides on Friday agreed on not allowing their differences to escalate into disputes while respecting each other’s concerns ahead of crucial talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders.

Naveen Srivastava, joint secretary (East Asia) of the external affairs ministry, held talks with Wu Jianghao, director general in China’s foreign ministry, through video conference and reviewed bilateral relations, including “current developments”, according to a readout from the Indian side.

It was the first formal diplomatic meeting between the two sides since tensions flared along the LAC.

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