China again asks India to pull back from Doklam

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Beijing, July 5 (IANS) China on Wednesday again asked India to pull back troops from Doklam in the Sikkim sector to “avoid worsening of the situation”.

Amid the continuing border stand-off, China also accused India of “misleading” the public by saying that Chinese had built a road near the Siliguri corridor in the Sikkim sector.

It also said that India had “trampled on” the Panchsheel pact by “illegally entering” Chinese territory.

China, which has so far has cited maps, official letters and released pictures to claim Doklam, which it calls Donglong, as its own territory, said the region was never at the tri-junction of India, China, and Bhutan.

“In disregard of the 1890 Sino-Britain convention, the Indian side said that Doklam is located within the tri-junction of the three countries, that is misleading the public,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Gen Shuang told reporters here.

“The 1890 convention said that the Sikkim section of the boundary commences from the East mountain and the incident (road construction) took place about 2,000 meters away from Mount Gipmochi,” Geng asserted.

“The Indian side is actually misleading the public by saying that the incident took place at the tri-junction point.”

India has opposed China’s road construction in Doklam, which is a disputed territory between Thimphu and Beijing.

Beijing says the road building is on Chinese territory. Bhutan has opposed it, and says the ownership of Doklam is yet to be decided.

“Although the boundary between the two countries (China and Bhutan) is yet to be settled, we have basic consensus on the boundary,” the spokesperson said.

“And there is no dispute between the two countries that Doklam belongs to China,” he stated.

Geng said the settlement of the boundary question was in the interest of the two sides.

“It is also the strategic target both sides have been working to achieve.”

“China and India have been in contact with the special representative mechanism to solve the boundary question.

Citing the Panchsheel, he said: “And as we all know, China, India and Myanmar in the 1950s jointly proposed five principles of peaceful coexistence.”

“However, to the surprise of everyone, the Indian side has trampled on the basic norms of international relations that were proposed by itself by illegally crossing into others’ territory,” Geng added.

“But this incident I believe violates the spirit upheld by the special representative mechanism and also is in contrast to the efforts made by the two sides previously,” he said.

Geng reiterated that withdrawal of troops by India from the Doklam was a precondition for dialogue between both sides.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a stand-off in Doklam on the Sikkim sector.

India has said Beijing’s action to ‘unilaterally determine tri-junction points’ is in violation of a 2012 India-China agreement. According to the agreement, the boundary will be decided by consulting all the concerned parties.

Beijing has asked New Delhi to withdraw troops, reiterating it as a precondition to settle the stand-off in India’s Sikkim sector, where the two countries share a little over 200 km of border.

Following the face-off, China last week suspended the pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet where Indians travel via the Nathu La Pass, which has been shut.

In response, India on Friday said it has told China that the building of a road by Chinese troops in the Donglong region will have “serious security implications for India” and urged Beijing “not to change the status quo unilaterally”.

The comments by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson come as the state-run Global times in a strong editorial said that China must teach India “a bitter lesson” if it “incites” military conflict over the dispute in Donglong region. It also said that the Chinese “look down” on the Indian military, and India will “suffer greater losses than in 1962” in case of a conflict.

(Gaurav Sharma is the Beijing-based correspondent of IANS. He can be contacted at [email protected] and [email protected])

–IANS

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