China snaps at US, says LAC faceoff with India is a bilateral issue
China on Wednesday said the Sino-India boundary dispute is a bilateral matter under negotiation and described Washington’s efforts to push the Indo-Pacific policy as an “outdated cold war strategy”.
The Chinese foreign ministry was reacting to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s remarks in New Delhi on Tuesday that the US stands with India on the ongoing military faceoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“The border affairs between China and India are things between the two countries. Now the situation across the border is generally stable and the two sides are in resolving relevant issues through consultations and negotiations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin said at the regular ministry briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.
Wang was responding to a question on Pompeo pushing for closer ties with India in the backdrop of the Sino-India border conflict.
On Tuesday, referring to the Indian soldiers who were killed in Galwan Valley on June 15, Pompeo said Washington will stand with New Delhi to protect its sovereignty.
Actual numbers are hard to come by but both militaries are said to have deployed thousands of soldiers at multiple friction points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh in the longest – since May – and worst military faceoff in decades.
Criticising, and focusing on, Washington rather than on India, Wang said: “We always believe that the development of bilateral relations between any countries should be conducive to peace and stability and development of the region. It should not harm the interests of a third party.”
“In meantime, any concept for regional development should be in line with the trend of the times for peaceful development and win-win cooperation. The Indo-Pacific strategy proposed by the US is preaching outdated cold war mentality and preaching confrontation and geopolitical game.”
Beijing perceives the Indo-Pacific strategy, involving the US, India, Japan and Australia and aimed at freedom of maritime navigation, as a move to counter its influence in the region, critical because of sea trade routes.
Wang added: “It is aimed to uphold the hegemony of the US. This runs counter to the common interest of the region and we urge the US to stop this.”
Wang continued to criticise the US when asked about Pompeo’s visit to Sri Lanka where he is expected to influence the leadership in Colombo against Beijing.
“I just responded to a question concerning Pompeo’s remarks in India. I want to add that forcing small and medium-sized countries to pick sides is a habitual behaviour of certain US politicians.”
The spokesperson referred to a Lankan foreign ministry statement that said Colombo will handle its foreign relations in accordance with the wishes of its citizens and relevant laws and not of foreign powers.
“Sri Lanka and China are traditional friendly neighbours. We have been conducting friendly cooperation on the basis of equal-footed negotiations and mutual benefit which brings tangible benefits to the two people. This will never be altered by any smears or slanders by other people or other countries.”
“We will work with Sri Lanka to expand and deepen our strategic cooperative partnership, to bring more benefits for our people and to contribute to regional peace, stability and development,” Wang added.