China says border standoff is bilateral issue, criticises Mike Pompeo’s remarks
China on Wednesday reacted sharply to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s remarks targeting the Chinese government and backing India in facing challenges to its sovereignty, saying the comments “instigated China’s relations with other countries”.
Describing the boundary issue as a “bilateral matter between China and India”, the Chinese embassy said in a statement that there is “no space for a third party to intervene” in the matter.
Pompeo told the media after the India-US 2+2 dialogue on Tuesday that Washington will stand by New Delhi in confronting threats to India’s sovereignty. He also referred to the “pandemic that came from Wuhan” and described the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as “no friend to democracy [and] the rule of law”.
The Chinese embassy expressed its “firm opposition” to the remarks by Pompeo and US defence secretary Mark Esper, and said they had “repeated old lies, attacked and made allegations against China, violated the norms of international relations and basic principles of diplomacy, [and] instigated China’s relations with other countries in the region”.
The remarks, the statement saiadded, “again exposed their Cold War mentality and ideological bias”.
The Chinese embassy stopped short of criticising India directly in any way. During the media interaction after the 2+2 meeting, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh hadn’t mentioned China in their remarks.
The statement said the “boundary question is a bilateral matter between China and India”, and the two sides had been discussing disengagement and de-escalation in the border areas through diplomatic and military channels. “China and India have the wisdom and ability to handle their differences properly. There’s no space for a third party to intervene,” it said.
Pompeo’s remarks came against the backdrop of the India-China military standoff in Ladakh region, which is set to enter its seventh month. Both sides have arrayed more than 50,000 troops each at friction points along the Line of Actual Control, and the forces are expected to remain deployed at the disputed border through the harsh winter.
Pompeo also made a pointed reference to the 20 Indian soldiers “killed by PLA forces in Galwan Valley in June”, and said the US and India are “taking steps to strengthen our cooperation against all manner of threats”.
The Chinese statement, however, contended Beijing has been “unswervingly committed to peaceful development and developed friendly cooperation with our neighbours based on mutual respect”.
“China has always upheld multilateralism and remained committed to maintaining an international system with the United Nations at its core and an international order based on international law. China resolutely opposes behaviour of engaging in unilateralism and bullying,” it added.
By “hyping up the so-called ‘China threat’”, the statement said, the US is “making pretexts for maintaining its global hegemony and containing China’s development”.
The statement further contended that the Indo-Pacific strategy proposed by the US is meant to “stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs and to stoke geopolitical competition” to maintain the dominance of Washington and organise “closed and exclusive ideological cliques”.
The statement said the CPC’s leadership is a choice of the people, who had “achieved strategic victory in fighting the [Coronavirus]”. It cited surveys conducted by international institutions to say the Chinese people’s satisfaction and trust towards the CPC-led government “exceed 90 percent”.
“Anyone who turns a blind eye to the fact that the CPC is endorsed and supported by the Chinese people or wantonly slanders the CPC is openly standing on the opposite side of the Chinese people,” the statement said.
China accused the US of again trying to “shift the blame onto China on Covid-19” and expressed the hope that US politicians would focus on “their own epidemic response and saving lives”.
“We urge the US side to respect facts and truth, abandon the Cold War and the zero-sum mentality, stop hyping up the so-called ‘China threat’, and stop the wrong actions that undermine regional peace and stability,” the statement said.