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China Asks the US to Stay Off “Bilateral” Indo-China Border Dispute

NEW DELHI, Oct 28: China has attacked the United States for “interfering” in the Asian affairs and asked it to “stay away” from the Indo-China border dispute which it said was a “bilateral issue under negotiations” and accused it of adopting “outdated cold war policy” in trying to push in Indo-Pacific policy.

Reacting strongly to the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s statement in New Delhi on Tuesday that Washington would stand with India in the on-going army stand-off with China, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin at the regular ministry briefing in Beijing on Wednesday said, “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.”

The Chinese embassy in New Delhi also issued a statement in response to Pompeo’s India visit accusing the US of “repeating old lies” and “violating the norms of international relations” for Pompeo’s comments and said, “The boundary question is a bilateral matter between China and India. The two sides have been discussing disengagement and de-escalation in the border areas through diplomatic and military channels. China and India have the wisdom and ability to handle their differences properly. There’s no space for a third party to intervene.”

Even in response to a question on Pompeo’s visit to Sri Lanka in the second leg of his four-nation tour to four Asian countries to push against China, Wenbin adopted more aggressive posture against the US than India or Sri Lanka. “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,” he said in reference to Pompeo’s Colombo trip.

Focusing on the US in the attack 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 The Indo-Pacific strategy proposed by the US is preaching outdated cold war mentality and preaching confrontation and geopolitical game.”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.”

On Sri Lanka, the Chinese 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.

On Pompeo’s attack on the ruling Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese Embassy statement said he “repeated old lies, attacked and made allegations against China, violated the norms of international relations and basic principles of diplomacy, instigated China’s relations with other countries in the region, which once again exposed their Cold War mentality and ideological bias.,”

The statement also hit out at the U.S. government for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and accused it of “trying to shift the blame”.

“The leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is a choice of history and the people,” the statement said. “This year, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people have achieved strategic victory in fighting the virus. According to surveys conducted by international authoritative institutions, the Chinese people’s satisfaction and trust toward the CPC-led Chinese government exceed 90%. Anyone who turns a blind eye to the fact that the CPC is endorsed and supported by the Chinese people or wantonly slanders the CPC is openly standing on the opposite side of the Chinese people.”

“The U.S. side once again tries to shift the blame onto China on COVID-19, which is indeed distorting facts to mislead the public,” it added. “What China has done and achieved in our fight against the virus are open for all to see. We hope U.S. politicians could focus on their own epidemic response and saving lives instead of shifting blame on others,” the statement said.

(Manas Dasgupta)