SIGNALLING CONTINUITY with the Trump administration, the Biden administration has expressed “concern” over Beijing’s “ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbours” – the first direct comments on the tension along the India-China border.
This comes close on the heels of new US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s comments last week that the United States must be prepared to “impose cost” on China for its threats toward Taiwan, as well as for its actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
A top official of the new Biden administration also said that the US will stand with its allies to advance its shared values in the strategically-vital Indo-Pacific region. Sullivan had said last week that they would continue the Trump-era policies on Quad.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. We note the ongoing talks between the governments of India and China and continue to support a direct dialogue and a peaceful resolution to border disputes,” Emily J Horne, spokesperson, National Security Council (NSC) of the White House, told PTI on Monday. He was responding to a question on recent Chinese attempts to intrude into Indian territories and occupy it. “The United States is concerned by Beijing’s pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbours,” Horne said. “We will stand with friends, partners and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security and values in the Indo-Pacific region,” he added.
This is the Biden administration’s first response on the India-China border clashes. India and China have been locked in a military standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 5 last year. The two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the face-off, but no significant headway has been made so far.
Last week, in an online discussion with his predecessor from the Trump administration, Robert O’Brien, Sullivan had termed China as the top foreign policy challenge that was handed over to President Joe Biden, citing Beijing’s increasingly “assertive” approach to Taiwan, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, reported Focus Taiwan.
Sullivan listed steps that the US could take to contend with the threat that China poses. He said the US would be most effective in advancing its vision for a free, prosperous and equitable society if it did so “in lockstep with its democratic allies and partners.”
With its allies in Europe and Asia, the US can lead “a chorus of voices” who collectively represent more than half the world’s economy, which would give it “leverage” to stand up to Chinese pressure, he said.
Specifically, this includes “being prepared to act as well as to impose costs for what China is doing in Xinjiang, what it’s doing in Hong Kong, and for the bellicosity and threats that it is projecting towards Taiwan,” he said. —With inputs from PTI in Washington