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China reiterates it does not recognise ‘illegal’ Ladakh UT

By Sutirtho Patranobis
PUBLISHED ON SEP 29, 2020 11:50 PM IST

Beijing China on Tuesday said it does not recognise the “illegally” constituted Ladakh Union territory, adding that it was opposed to India building military infrastructure in the border areas.

The Chinese foreign ministry said neither India nor China should engage in activities in the border region that could complicate the situation, brushing aside its own infrastructure-building by saying it was on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Beijing also denied reports that said it had “built new military bases on or facilities along the LAC are completely false descriptions driven by ulterior motivesword/s missing”.

Responding to a question on India building a high-altitude road network in Ladakh, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said: “China has not recognised Ladakh union territory illegally set up by the Indian side. We are opposed to conducting infrastructure development for military purposes in the border area.”

India’s strengthening of its infrastructure in the region comes amid the worst border tension with China in decades in eastern Ladakh, where border troops from the two countries have been locked in a faceoff since May.

“Based on the two sides’ consensus, no side should engage in the border areas in any activities that might complicate the situation to avoid undermining two sides’ efforts to ease the situation,” Wang added.

In August 2019, India divested the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir of the special status it was granted under Article 370 of the Constitution, and decided to bifurcate it into Union territories -- J &K and Ladakh. China had responded strongly then.

India has strongly maintained that Ladakh is an internal matter and rejected China’s comments.

“China has always opposed India’s inclusion of Chinese territory in India’s administrative jurisdiction in the western part of the Sino-Indian border. This position is firm, consistent and has never changed,” the foreign ministry had said in a statement.

“In recent days, the Indian side has continued to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally amending its domestic laws. This practice is unacceptable and will not produce any effect,” the 2019 statement added.

When Wang was asked on Tuesday to comment on China’s advanced infrastructure in the region, he first denied that Beijing was building new military facilities in the region.

“First some institutions once released the so-called information on new military bases or facilities China has built on its side. Such reports are completely false. They are driven by ulterior motives,” Wang said.

Then he went on to add that Beijing follows all border agreements signed with India.

“Second, China consistently and strictly abide by the agreements signed with the Indian side. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability along the border with India; at the same time, we firmly safeguard our sovereignty, territorial integrity and security”.

“For a long time, (the) Chinese side have been conducting activities on the Chinese side of the LAC and they have always complied with relevant agreements.”

The spokesperson added: “We hope the Indian side to work for the same purpose, together with China to achieve the cooling of temperature on the ground and to prevent adding complex factors to the two sides’ concerted efforts to ease the situation.”

Wang was also asked to comment on the meeting of foreign ministers from India, Australia, and the US in Japan next week under the informal Quad security forum .Wang warned that no “exclusive clique” should be formed, indicating that Beijing was closely following the development and progress of the Quad.

“Peace, development and global cooperation is the overriding trend of today’s world. Multilateral and plurilateral cooperation should all be open, inclusive and transparent. No one should seek an exclusive clique,” he said.

“Efforts should be made to enhance regional countries’ mutual understanding and trust, instead of targeting a third party or harming a third party’s interests.”

“We hope the relevant country will proceed from the interests of regional countries and do more things conducive to regional peace, stability and development instead of the contrary.”

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