Stop sowing discord between China, regional countries: Beijing on Pompeo’s India trip
China on Tuesday accused the US of sowing discord between Beijing and regional countries as the US secretary of state of Mike Pompeo held high-level talks in New Delhi with a focus on strengthening bilateral defence and strategic ties.
Pompeo arrived in India on Monday along with defence secretary Mark T Esper for the third edition of the US-India 2+2 dialogue with their counterparts, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh.
Pompeo is due to visit Sri Lanka and the Maldives after his India trip.
Pompeo offered his support to India and mentioned the killing of Indian Army soldiers in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley after a clash with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in June.
“We visited the National War Memorial to honour brave men and women of Indian armed forces who sacrificed for the world’s largest democracy, including 20 killed by PLA in Galwan Valley. The US will stand with India as they confront threats to their sovereignty, liberty,” Pompeo said in a joint statement after the 2+2 India-US Ministerial Dialogue.
In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry was specifically asked to comment on Pompeo’s visit, given that he had said earlier that it will focus on threats posed by China.
In his response, ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin did not specifically mention India, but attacked Pompeo’s anti-China statements.
“Pompeo’s attacks and accusations against China are nothing new,” Wang said.
“These are groundless accusations which reflect that he is clinging to the Cold War mentality and ideological biases. We urge him to abandon the Cold War and the zero-sum game mentality and stop sowing discord between China and regional countries as well as undermining the regional peace and stability.”
Wang’s remarks were made in the backdrop of India and the US signing the landmark Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) that will allow sharing of high-end military technology, classified satellite data and critical information between the two countries.
Pompeo further said in New Delhi on Tuesday: “The US and India are taking steps to strengthen our cooperation against all manner of threats and not just those posed by the Chinese Communist Party. Last year, we expanded our cooperation on cyber issues, our navies have held joint exercises in the Indian Ocean.”
China will be closely monitoring the Malabar naval exercise among the navies of the US, Japan, India and Australia in November – the thinking in Beijing is that an anti-China Indo-Pacific maritime security structure is gradually taking shape.
In July, Pompeo had criticised China for its aggressive moves against its neighbours, including “instigating” a deadly confrontation with India in eastern Ladakh.
“The recent clashes initiated by the PLA are just the latest examples of the Chinese Communist Party’s unacceptable behaviour. It is important that democracies like ours work together, especially as we see more clearer than ever the true scope of the challenge posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” he had said.