Don’t meddle in bilateral issues with India: China tells US

Accusing the US of damaging China’s relations with its neighbors, Beijing has warned Washington to keep away from the China-India boundary row, saying it’s a “bilateral matter and there is no space for a third party to intervene”. In a strong statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said “that the border affairs between China and India are things between the two countries”, and “Now the situation across the border is generally stable and the two sides are resolving relevant issues through consultations and negotiations”.

The Chinese foreign ministry accused him of “repeating old lies”, “preaching an outdated Cold War mentality”, “confrontation and geopolitical games” and “violating the norms of international relations” to instigate hostility among nations.

The reaction came soon after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a 2+2 India-US Dialogue in New Delhi on October 27 that the US “will stand with the people of India as they face threats to their sovereignty and their liberty.” Besides, Mr Pompeo, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and their Indian counterparts S. Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh, respectively, attended the talks on October 28.

Mr Pompeo had also hit out at the Communist Party of China (CPC), saying it was “no friend to democracy, the rule of law, transparency, and nor to freedom of navigation, the foundation of a free and open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

Mr Wang’s strongly-worded statement was followed by another one issued by the Chinese Embassy in India in which it claimed that the US was looking to “stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs and to stoke geopolitical competition”.  “China has been advocating that the development of bilateral relations between countries should be conducive to regional peace, stability and development, and not infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of a third party. 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,” it stated.

India and the US discussed the situation in Ladakh at the dialogue, with the eighth round of Corps Commander-level talks expected to take place soon. There has been little progress towards disengagement and a return to the status quo in the wake of China’s mobilization of troops and transgressions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) starting early May.

On Mr Pompeo’s remarks on the CPC, the 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,” adding that China “expresses its firm opposition to it”.

The statement also hit out at the US government for blaming China for COVID-19, saying that it is “trying to shift the blame” to cover its own poor pandemic response. It said: “This year, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people have achieved strategic victory in fighting the virus. The US side once again tries to shift the blame onto China on COVID-19, which is indeed distorting facts to mislead the public. What China has done and achieved in our fight against the virus are open for all to see. We hope US politicians could focus on their own epidemic response and saving lives instead of shifting the blame on others.”

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