In its first comments on US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between India and China to end their border standoff, Beijing on Friday said the two countries did not want the “intervention” from a third party.
Rejecting Trump’s mediation offer, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said India and China were capable of properly resolving the issues through dialogue and consultation.
“Between China and India, we have existing border-related mechanisms and communication channels,” Zhao told a media briefing. “We are capable of properly resolving the issues between us through dialogue and consultation. We do not need the intervention of the third party,” he further said.
India and China last week activated their “working mechanism” at the level of diplomats to reduce military tensions.
On Wednesday, Trump had waded into the ongoing tension between India and China on the border incidents and offered to “mediate or arbitrate”, saying he was “ready, willing and able” to ease the tensions.
“We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!” Trump tweeted.
Reacting to the US President’s offer, New Delhi said it was engaged with Beijing to “peacefully resolve” the issue. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, however, refrained from addressing Trump’s tweet and did not reject any third-party mediation, as it had done in the past.
On Thursday, Trump had claimed he had spoken to Modi, who was “not in a good mood” about what is going on with China. However, New Delhi said there had been “no recent contact” between the two leaders and the last conversation took place almost two months ago, on April 4.
Responding to media questions at The White House, Trump said, “They have a big conflict going with India and China. Two countries with 1.4 billion people. Two countries with very powerful militaries. And India is not happy, and probably China is not happy. But I can tell you, I did speak to Prime Minister Modi. He’s not — he’s not in a good mood about what’s going on with China.”
The latest standoff erupted after Indian and Chinese troops came to blows near Pangong Tso, a lake in eastern Ladakh, earlier this month. Since then, there has been no scaling down of tensions on the LAC in eastern Ladakh, with India matching the Chinese with its deployment of man and material.
Highly placed sources told The Indian Express that a detailed analysis of satellite images has shown extensive deployment of towed artillery and mechanised elements on the Chinese side of LAC opposite the Galwan valley, bringing Indian deployments within striking distance.
Satellite images also show the presence of at least 16 tanks with a mix of infantry combat vehicles, though camouflaged. Flatbed trucks, excavator machines, dumper trucks too have been identified in the imagery, sources said, adding that these suggest permanent defences are being prepared by the Chinese in the area.
“Suitable” counter-deployments, sources said, have also been done on the Indian side of the LAC to neutralise any advantage that the Chinese may accrue due to the deployments they have done in depth.
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