As India prepares for a naval exercise in the Indian Ocean with Japan and the US on July 10, China on Friday expressed “hope” that the naval drill was not aimed at “any third party”, even as troops from both countries remained locked in a standoff in Sikkim. China on Friday also said India had “ulterior motives” in claiming that the entire Doklam region, referred to as Donglong by China, as part of a tri-junction between China, Bhutan and India. China has maintained that India violated border agreements mid-June after Indian troops entered the Chinese side of the border in Doklam and stopped the Chinese army from constructing a road. The annual Malabar naval drill between India, Japan and the US is set to begin on July 10 in the Indian Ocean, which China has watched closely since Japan became a permanent partner in 2015.
“We have no objection to the normal bilateral relations and cooperation among relevant countries, but we hope that this kind of relationship and cooperation will not be directed at any third party and will be conducive to the regional peace and stability,” said Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Geng Shuang.
Geng also claimed India had ulterior motives in expanding the scope of the tri-junction region in the Sikkim sector. “The so-called tri-junction point is a point, instead of a line or area. Disregarding the boundary convention, the Indian side takes the entire Doklam area as part of the tri-junction. That is out of ulterior motives,” Geng said. He said that equating a point with the areas is the “introduction of a new concept”.
Meanwhile, state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua on Friday commented that “India should immediately pull back its trespassing troops”, and that “a spiral of bilateral rivalry (between China and India) would definitely result in a slowdown in their growth”.
“India has also argued that Chinese construction would represent a ‘significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India’ in a statement by its Ministry of External Affairs. That argument is unconvincing. Chinese construction is being conducted within its own territory. It is India that has broken the status quo by trespassing onto Chinese soil,” the Xinhua article stated.
“It is clear that if the ‘Chinese Dragon’ and the ‘Indian Elephant’ co-exist harmoniously and achieve peaceful, cooperative development, it will benefit not only their combined 2.7 billion people, but also those living beyond their borders,” the article said.