China has invoked friendship and cooperation with India and urged both sides to uphold peace after reports surfaced about clashes between the border guards of the two sides in Sikkim. In a press briefing on May 11, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian said that both sides should jointly uphold peace and handle their differences. However, he did not give any detail about the incident.Several Indian and Chinese border guards were injured in the latest round of confrontation, which took place in North Sikkim’s Naku La sector on May 9. Confirming the incident, the Indian Army said that a “heated confrontation” led to a scuffle in which soldiers from both sides received minor injuries. The situation was normalized after talks were held at the local level between the two armies.
“Chinese border troops have always been upholding peace along the border. China and India stay in close communication concerning our border affairs,” Mr Zhao said at the conference. Downplaying the incident, the spokesperson said that both countries are fighting together against COVID-19, and this year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. Under such circumstances, they should handle their differences peacefully to create enabling conditions for our bilateral relations, he said.
He also denied that China is adopting an aggressive stand. “The assumption is groundless,” he said in response to a media query. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and India have been in close cooperation to jointly meet the challenges. The most pressing concern for the international community now is solidarity and cooperation. We shouldn’t allow any politicization or stigmatization in a bid to create more differences or confrontation,” Mr Zhao added.The latest clashes brought back memories of the 73-day face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam near Sikkim in 2017. Both sides have held many rounds of talks to resolve their decades-old boundary dispute.
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