Didn’t invade single square of land, nor started a war in 70 years: China

Updated on Sep 27, 2019 04:01 PM IST
The special 18,400-word policy document was released on Friday ahead of next week’s celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China under the one-party rule of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Next week China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China under the one-party rule of the Communist Party of China (CPC).(AFP FILE PHOTO.)
Next week China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China under the one-party rule of the Communist Party of China (CPC).(AFP FILE PHOTO.)
Hindustan Times, Beijing | BySutirtho Patranobis

China did not invade a “single square of foreign land” nor did it provoke a “single war” in the past 70 years, a Chinese government policy paper released on Friday said.

In fact, Beijing’s achievement in resolving land border disputes with 12 of its 14 neighbours in the last seven decades broke “new ground” in settling bilateral boundary problems carried over from history, the policy paper added. Beijing believes in resolving territorial delimitation disputes through negotiation and consultation, the document said.

The special 18,400-word policy document was released on Friday ahead of next week’s celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China under the one-party rule of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

“China safeguards world peace through real action. Over the past 70 years, China has not provoked a single war or conflict, nor invaded a single square of foreign land,” the white paper titled, “China and the World in the New Era”, released by China’s State Council or Cabinet said.

“China has achieved full resolution of land border delimitation problems with 12 of its 14 neighbouring countries, and delineated the China-Vietnam maritime boundary in the Beibu Gulf. This has broken new ground for settling inter-country issues carried over from history as well as other international disputes. China has played a constructive role in settling major international and regional issues,” it said.

“In 2015 China announced that it would set up a ten-year, US$1 billion China-UN Peace and Development Fund, which was officially, put it into operation in 2016. China has always been dedicated to resolving territorial and maritime delimitation disputes through negotiation and consultation,” the white paper said.

The policy paper didn’t name the two countries with which Beijing continues to have land border disputes – India and Bhutan.

India and China went to war over the border dispute in 1962 with each accusing the other of aggression and surreptitious efforts to take control of more land area.

Just two years ago, in 2017, border troops from the two countries were caught up in a 73-day military standoff after Indian troops stopped Chinese troops from building infrastructure in Doklam (Donglang), near the Sikkim border, a strategic area under Chinese control but claimed by Bhutan.

The Sino-India border dispute stretches for nearly 3500 km and the two countries have had more than 40 rounds of negotiations to resolve it.

The 22nd round of talks under the current mechanism of “Special Representatives” was abruptly postponed earlier this month. China blamed “India’s schedule” for the delay.

The postponement came in the backdrop of China’s strong criticism of India changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir and converting Ladakh to a union territory from a state.

The border dispute is expected to be discussed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President Xi Jinping for the second round of the “informal summit” in India next month.

Under a sub-section titled “China has injected positive energy into world peace and development”, the white paper mentioned the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, or what is known as the Panchsheel Treaty.

“In the 1950s, China, India, and Myanmar jointly proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence). These have become basic norms for international relations and fundamental principles of international law,” the document said.

Under another sub-head “Developing Global Partnerships”, the document said:

“China sees its neighbouring countries as the foundation of its development and prosperity. It gives top priority to neighbourhood diplomacy in foreign relations, and takes promoting regional peace, stability, and development as its bounden duty”.

Talking about ensuring peace and tranquility, the policy paper said: “China will continue to lead regional cooperation and safeguard regional peace and development”.

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