Talks with India to resolve LAC tension not delayed: China
China said it was in contact with India to hold the 11th meeting of military commanders to resolve the tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh but did not confirm the date for the talks.
Responding to a question on the meeting, the Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday blamed India for the “situation” at the border but denied that the talks have been delayed though the 10th round was held on February 20, nearly seven weeks ago.
News reports from India had said that New Delhi and Beijing were likely to hold the next round of corps commander level talks on Friday where the two sides were expected to focus on disengaging troops from the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.
The two militaries had completed the withdrawal of frontline troops with armoured formations and artillery from the banks of Pangong Lake ahead of February 20 negotiations.
“China and India are in communication for holding the 11th round of talks. There is no delayed meeting as you cited,” ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian said.
“I have no information about the upcoming talks,” he said, responding to a related question. “I want to stress that the merits of the situation at (the) India- China border are very clear and the responsibility does not rest with the Chinese side.”
“We hope the Indian side will work with China to follow through the important consensus of our two leaders, abide by relevant agreements and treaties to de-escalate the tension at the border,” Zhao added.
To a question on whether China will consider India’s proposal of restoring the status quo of April 2020, Zhao said: “For the proposal you mentioned I believe it should be talked in the meetings and I already made clear my position on the border issue just now.”
On March 12, Indian and Chinese diplomats had agreed to ensure stability in the Ladakh sector of the LAC and to convene the 11th meeting of senior military commanders soon to take forward disengagement and de-escalation at friction points on the disputed border.
Those outcomes were agreed upon during a virtual meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs between the two countries.
According to India’s external affairs ministry, it had been agreed at the WMCC meet to convene the 11th meeting of the senior military commanders “at an early date so that two sides could work towards complete disengagement from the remaining friction areas”.
The Chinese readout on the same meeting had noted that the two sides had positively evaluated the disengagement at Pangong Lake and had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on promoting resolution in other areas.
It added that the two sides had agreed to stabilise the situation on the border and avoid any “repetition of the situation on the ground in accordance with the five-point consensus reached at the Moscow meeting of the two foreign ministers and the spirit of their February 25 phone call”.
The two neighbours have been locked in a standoff since May last year after Chinese troops impeded patrols by Indian forces.
A brutal clash at Galwan Valley last June - which left 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops dead and was the first incident on the LAC involving fatalities since 1975 - took bilateral ties to an all-time low.
India has insisted that China’s actions on the LAC have seriously damaged bilateral ties and normalcy can be restored only by disengagement, de-escalation and restoration of the status quo on the border.