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India-China standoff at Doklam: Japan throws weight behind India and Bhutan, says no side should try to change status quo by force

Doklam standoff: On China’s claim about India’s role in the dispute, Japan has also conveyed that India is “involved” in this incident “based on bilateral agreements” with Bhutan.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: August 19, 2017 8:11 am
Doklam standoff, doklam japan, japan on doklam standoff, japan on doklam, sikkim standoff, india china standoff, india china doklam, shinzo abe, narendra modi, indian express news, india news Doklam standoff: Japan’s unequivocal support to India and Bhutan is a first by a major country which is also China’s neighbour.

Two months into the Doklam border standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers, Japan has conveyed its unequivocal support to India and Bhutan through diplomatic channels — a first by a major country, which is China’s neighbour, top sources have told The Indian Express.

This comes a month ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India from September 13 to 15. The Indian Express has learnt that Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu and his team of diplomats have conveyed Tokyo’s position to New Delhi and Thimphu in the last couple of weeks.

Hiramatsu, who is also concurrently accredited as Ambassador to Bhutan, met Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay in early August and conveyed Japan’s support to him and the top functionaries of the government.

Japanese diplomats, who have been in touch with Indian officials since late June, have been briefed by Indian and Bhutanese government functionaries on the situation in Doklam, and its complexities. They, South Block sources said, have met Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and top officials in the Indian establishment. Sources said that they are one of the few diplomatic missions who have been briefed by Delhi on the border standoff.

Doklam standoff, doklam japan, japan on doklam standoff, japan on doklam, sikkim standoff, india china standoff, india china doklam, shinzo abe, narendra modi, indian express news, india news Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe boarding the Shinkansen bullet train to Kobe from at Tokyo Station in Japan on November 12, 2016.

Japan, which has been watching the situation “very closely”, feels that the ongoing stand-off can affect the stability of the entire region. Tokyo, which has had similar territorial disputes with China in the recent past, is of the view that in disputed areas, “all parties involved should not resort to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force”. This is what Japan’s position has been — overtly critical of the Chinese attempt to “change the status quo.”

India had blamed Beijing for changing the status quo on June 30. Indeed, when contacted, Ambassador Hiramatsu told The Indian Express: “We understand that the standoff in the Doklam area has been ongoing for nearly two months…What is important in disputed areas is that all parties involved do not resort to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force (but) resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner.”

South Block sources said that Japan itself has been at the receiving end of “Chinese expansionism” and it understands New Delhi’s position better than many. Government sources pointed out to Japan’s difficulties between 2012 and 2014, when ties between China and Japan were frayed by a territorial row over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Japan has also conveyed that they understand that the area is disputed between China and Bhutan and that both countries recognize the existence of a dispute. On China’s claim about India’s role in the dispute, Tokyo has also conveyed that India is “involved” in this incident “based on bilateral agreements” with Bhutan. They have lauded the Indian approach that New Delhi will continue to engage in a dialogue through diplomatic channels to find a “mutually acceptable solution”.

Sources said that Japan’s support comes when Chinese rhetoric has not abated and no major country has yet come out in support of India vis-a-vis China.

While the US has encouraged both India and China to sit down and have “direct dialogue”, UK has maintained that it is a bilateral issue. Australia has expressed concern over the possibility of “escalation of tensions” and has urged New Delhi and Beijing to resolve the issue peacefully to avoid “miscalculation” and “misjudgement”.

In the wake of such “neutral” statements by major players in the international community, Japan’s show of support has strongly reinforced Delhi’s arguments, government sources said.

Incidentally, Japan and Bhutan have had a very strong bilateral relationship over the last three decades. Thee have been three imperial visits from Japan to Bhutan: in 1987, 1997, and the last in June this year when when Princess Mako from the Japanese royal family visited Bhutan. The Bhutanese Royal couple also visited Japan and to Fukushima in November 2011 and the Bhutanese King had addressed the Japanese Parliament.

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  1. H
    Helen
    Aug 19, 2017 at 10:08 pm
    Bhutan is such a joyous country, such a giving people. Life must be hard in the Himalayan foothills in the winter. The government has tried hard to create a good balance between economic development and stability through its policy of gross national happiness. Just leave this Himalayan kingdom to find its own way .
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    1. Amit Mishra
      Aug 19, 2017 at 7:05 pm
      Let us see who have better I.q. u foolish small nosy n little eyed chinese who have no moral or democratic values, low quality product dumpers,, or we the Indians who r the most bravest n strong willed warriors since infinite past. Take my words, This time we the lions will kill any or all chinese to cmpletly destroy ur existence forever. Get ready for ur death... JAI HIND...!
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      1. Annu Chopra
        Aug 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm
        Xi Jinpong has lost face worldwide in Doklam. In order to redeem himself , egoistic war monger ,Xi Jinpong is going to engage India in a swift limited attack in the Indian Ocean before Chinese Communist Party kicks off its 19th National Congress in Beijing. India will have no choice but to nuke 3 gorges dam. Nuking of 3 gorges dam near Guan Mendong will result in i) vaporisation of huge amounts of water followed by condensation of the radiated rain clouds over extensive areas of china ii) extensive devastation and flushing out of millions of chinese into sea due to uncontrolled flooding iii)Loss of 22500 MW of power will result in closure of factories, massive unemployment , business losses running into trillions Xi Jinpong must be removed and peace restored in the world. Because of him, china has lost face in the world.
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        1. Yulin Sun
          Aug 19, 2017 at 10:46 am
          That's rumor. Japan has refute a rumor. Japan side just express it wants the issue solved peaceful. Who is lying?
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          1. V
            Vincent Chin
            Aug 19, 2017 at 10:22 am
            When China was at India's current stage of industrialization 20 years ago, it kept a low profile, bid its time and ate humble pie. Even when the US 'accidentally' bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999, the Chinese strong reaction was measured and one of utmost restraint (imagine the same were to happen to India). In return, China got all the help investment and technology transfer it could get from the West. Today, the West is broke while India is following the same path China is leaving behind. What does India do? It creates enemy with China. The one country who can help India in a win-win cooperation but unfortunately is being pushed away to foster stronger Sino-Pak ties instead. How silly and myopic.
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