Trump says US trying to 'help' India, China sort 'big problem'

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US President Donald Trump made yet another foray into the India-China conflict saying the Asian neighbours are dealing with a “big problem” and the United States will try to “help them out”.

The American leader did not repeat his earlier offer of mediation, which has been firmly turned down by both India and China. But he did say the United States is “talking” to them.

The president did not take sides in the short observation on the conflict made in response to a reporter’s question before departing the White House for his election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, later in the evening on Saturday.

“It’s a very tough situation,” Trump said when asked for his assessment of the situation. “We’re talking to India. We’re talking to China.”

He added: “They’ve got a big problem there. They’ve come to blows, and we’ll see what happens. We’ll try and help them out.”

The US president had on May 28 made an explicit offer of mediation and had gone on to misleadingly claim he had discussed the situation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They hadn’t till then, but did later in a June 2 call. But Trump did not pursue his offer after being turned down.

Trump has been keen to intercede in this part of Asia one way or another for months now. He first offered to mediate in the India-Pakistan tensions last summer in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist attacks. Though the first offer, elicited from him by the visiting Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, was swiftly rejected by New Delhi, the president had persisted, using a range of synonyms.

Now, the India-China conflict.. But even as he offers to help, he has been careful to not take sides, unlike his secretary of state Michael Pompeo, who has been very clear who he thinks is to blame.

“The PLA has escalated border tensions - we see it today in India, the world’s most popular - populous democracy,” Pompeo said referring to the Chinese military in a virtual conference of the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday.

He had gone on to call China a “rogue actor” not only to its Asian neighbourhood but far beyond to the rest of the world.

The top American diplomat has conveyed his condolences on the death of 20 Indian soldiers in deadly June 15 clashes, that marked the first fatalities on the India-China border in 45 years. He made no mention of the Chinese casualties. The Chinese have not declared their fatalities but they are estimated to have lost more than 40 according to Indian officials.

US lawmakers have also been very clear about their view of the conflicts that have been on no for weeks now in fits and bursts. “I am extremely concerned by the ongoing Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border,” Eliot Engel, Democrat who heads the powerful House foreign affairs committee, said in a statement earlier in the month. “China is demonstrating once again that it is willing to bully its neighbors rather than resolve conflicts according to international law.”

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