In his first comments since the clash between Indian and Chinese troops on the night of June 15-16, US President Donald Trump described the tension between the two countries as “very tough”, and said his administration was talking to both to help them resolve matters.
“We’re talking to India. We’re talking to China. They’ve got a big problem there, they have come to blows, and we’ll see what happens. We’ll try and help them out,” Trump told reporters at the White House early Sunday India time, on the way to his first post-Covid-19 election rally in Oklahoma.
The Indian Express has learnt that some phone calls are planned soon between top Trump administration officials and the Indian side.
Last month too, Trump had offered to “mediate or arbitrate” in the border dispute between India and China, saying he was “ready, willing and able” to ease the tension. India had virtually rejected the offer, saying it was engaged with China to resolve the border row.
Early last week, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the President was aware of the situation and the US was closely monitoring it. During a phone call on June 2 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Trump had discussed the matter, the spokesperson said.
US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo also commented on China’s actions last week, saying, “The PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has escalated border tensions with India, the world’s most populous democracy. It’s militarising the South China Sea and illegally claiming more territory there, threatening vital sea lanes.”
In an address on ‘Europe and the China Challenge’ at the 2020 Copenhagen Democracy Summit Friday, delivered virtually, Pompeo called the ruling Chinese Communist Party a ‘rogue actor.’
The top US diplomat on China, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell, has called China’s actions that led to the clash in Galwan Valley “similar to activity we’ve seen in the past on [other] border disputes”. Several steps taken by the Chinese, including in Hong Kong and India, have not been “really constructive”, he said, adding, “We’re obviously watching the India-China border dispute very closely… Again, we don’t have a lot of visibility and we don’t have a lot of open dialogue with our Chinese counterparts.”
On the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that for the sake of grabbing territory, China appeared to have instigated the most violent clash with India since the war between them in 1962. Noting the nuclear status of the two countries, McConnell said they were “encouraging de-escalation”.
Texas Congressman Lance Gooden, of the Republican Party, also came out in support of India. Saying China cannot be trusted, Gooden tweeted, “As more news comes out about the deadly conflict between China and India, once again CHINA appears to be an aggressive bad actor… The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) cannot be taken at their word, EVER.”
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