China pushes back against US criticism of actions on LAC

Updated on Jan 16, 2023 06:43 AM IST

Donald Lu, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, said that China had recently made “aggressive” moves along the border in India’s northeastern states instead of taking steps to resolve the standoff in Ladakh sector that began in May 2020.

India and China are locked in a military standoff along the LAC in Ladakh sector since May 2020. (AP/ Representational image)
India and China are locked in a military standoff along the LAC in Ladakh sector since May 2020. (AP/ Representational image)

China on Sunday sought to push back against a senior US official’s remarks that Beijing has not taken “good faith steps” to address border tensions with New Delhi, saying there is no role for a third party in resolving the military standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Donald Lu, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, said that China had recently made “aggressive” moves along the border in India’s northeastern states instead of taking steps to resolve the standoff in Ladakh sector that began in May 2020. Lu added that the US will continue to stand with its Indian partners on this issue.

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Reacting to Lu’s comments, a Chinese embassy spokesperson said the US state department official had “made allegations against China regarding [the] China-India border issue without any factual basis”. The spokesperson added: “The Chinese side is firmly opposed to such acts that a third country point fingers at the bilateral issue between other two countries out of geopolitical consideration.”

The spokesperson repeated China’s contention that the situation on the LAC is “overall stable” and said: “The boundary question is a matter between China and India. The two sides have the will and capability of resolving the question through dialogue and consultation. We hope the US could do more things that contribute to regional peace and stability.”

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The spokesperson further said India and China have maintained “smooth and constructive communication” on boundary-related matters through diplomatic and military channels. They also “promote the border situation to switch from the phase of emergency response to normalised management and control”, the spokesperson contended.

Indian officials do not agree with the China’s characterisation of the situation on the LAC. On Thursday, the Indian Army chief, said the situation along the northern borders with China is “stable and under control yet unpredictable”. He also said there has been a slight increase in the number of Chinese troops across the contested border in the eastern sector.

Lu made the remarks in an interview with NDTV during a visit to New Delhi for talks aimed at preparing the grounds for a visit by US secretary of state Antony Blinken in March.

“The US has been clear for a long time about our policy on India and China. We have said that the border dispute between India and China should be solved peacefully through negotiations, directly between the two parties. Now, having said that, we have not seen that the PRC has taken good faith steps to resolve this border conflict,” Lu said.

“Quite the opposite, we have seen aggressive Chinese moves along India’s border, including most recently in India’s northeastern states,” he said, referring to a clash on the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 that left several soldiers injured on both sides. The skirmish occurred when Chinese troops attempted to unilaterally alter the status quo at Yangtse near Tawang.

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