China on Tuesday brushed aside comments linking President Xi Jinping’s statement urging Chinese armed forces to be ready for a “regional war” to a war with India, saying it was a “wild guess”.
During a meeting with top officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Sunday, Xi asked them to improve their combat readiness and be ready to win a regional war. Coming at a time when Indian and Chinese soldiers were locked in a stand-off along the disputed boundary in Ladakh, the statement was interpreted as being directed at India.
The foreign ministry said China would never allow the long-pending border dispute to influence bilateral relations.
“I believe that this may be a wild guess,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying. “President Xi concluded his very successful visit to India and was warmly welcomed by the Indian government and Indian people. During his visit, the two leaders reached important consensus on Sino-Indian relations.”
Chinese leaders, including Xi, had in the past brought up the issue of the PLA’s readiness for a “regional war”. Former president Hu Jintao had also talked about PLA’s combat readiness for a regional war during his tenure.
“There may be some problems between the two countries but you can be assured that the two leaders also have consensus on such issues to solve the disputes through friendly coordination and pending the final settlement, we will maintain peace and tranquillity of the border area,” the Chinese spokesperson added.
“We will never allow border area to influence Sino-India relations,” she said.
Hua said the government had taken note of reports of Chinese troops’ incursions into Indian territory.
“Through the existing mechanism we can effectively and properly manage such issues. A far as I am concerned such dispute has been managed and border area is in tranquillity,” she added.