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Doklam standoff: China dismisses Japan's support for India

China has dismissed the Japanese envoy’s support for India’s position on the Doklam standoff even as it reiterated its claim that New Delhi was trying to change the status quo near the Sikkim border.

world Updated: Aug 18, 2017 17:19 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
India-China relations,Doklam standoff,Japanese envoy to India
File photo from July 2008 shows a Chinese soldier (left) next to an Indian soldier at Nathu La border crossing in India's northeastern Sikkim state. (AFP)

It is India, and not China, which has attempted to change the status quo in Doklam area near the Sikkim border, the foreign ministry said on Friday, dismissing Japan’s expression of support for India’s stance as factually incorrect.

The Japanese envoy to India, Kenji Hiramatsu, told Hindustan Times on Thursday that no country should use unilateral force to alter the status of the Doklam or Donglang region, which is under Chinese control but claimed by Bhutan.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying dismissed Hiramatsu’s statement as uninformed.

“I have seen that the Japanese ambassador to India really wants to support India (on the military standoff.) And I want to remind him not to randomly make comments before clarifying relevant facts,” Hua told a regular news briefing.

“In Doklam, there is no territorial dispute. The boundary has been delimited and recognised by both sides (India and China),” she said. “The attempt to change the status quo illegally is by India, not China.”

The Japanese envoy had said in response to a question on the standoff: “We recognise Doklam is a disputed area between Bhutan and China and two countries are engaged in border talks…We also understand that India has a treaty understanding with Bhutan, that’s why Indian troops got involved in the area.”

Hua reiterated China’s demand that India should immediately withdraw its border troops unconditionally, saying this a precondition for any meaningful talks between the two sides.

China has blamed India for the impasse at Doklam, now into its second month, and accused Indian soldiers of trespass and preventing Chinese soldiers from building a road in the region.

India says the road, if built, will have serious security implications for India. The Indian troops intervened in coordination with the Bhutan government when Chinese forces tried to build the road in mid-June.

India has asserted that China’s construction activity changes the status quo and goes against an understanding reached by the two sides in 2012 that the “tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalised in consultation with the concerned countries”.

Beijing, on its part, has referred to the 1890 convention between Great Britain and China and a “non-paper” provided by the Indian side during a May 2006 meeting of the Special Representatives on the boundary issue to back up its claims.

“Both sides agree on the boundary alignment in the Sikkim Sector,” a 15-page Chinese statement released earlier this month quoted the non-paper as saying.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 16:31 IST