Boundary issue with India is ‘bilateral’, China tells Mike Pompeo

It accuses the U.S. Secretary of State of ‘repeating old lies’ and ‘violating the norms of international relations’

Updated - October 29, 2020 12:07 am IST

Published - October 28, 2020 11:51 am IST

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on October 27, 2020.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on October 27, 2020.

China has accused United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “repeating old lies” and “violating the norms of international relations”, and told Washington “the boundary question is a bilateral matter between China and India” and “there is no space for a third party to intervene.”

Also read: China is a predator, Pompeo tells Sri Lanka

Two strong statements from the Foreign Ministry in Beijing and the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi followed Mr. Pompeo’s remarks at Tuesday’s 2+2 ministerial dialogue , which he attended along with Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Mr. Pompeo said the U.S. “will stand with the people of India as they face threats to their sovereignty and their liberty.” He also hit out at the Communist Party of China (CPC), saying it was “no friend to democracy, the rule of law, transparency, nor to freedom of navigation, the foundation of a free and open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

‘Preaching confrontation’

The Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of “preaching an outdated Cold War mentality and preaching confrontation and geopolitical games”, and told Washington to not involve itself in the boundary dispute.

Also read: Mike Pompeo slams China for pandemic, Indo-Pacific tensions at Quad meeting

“I want to say that the border affairs between China and India are things between the two countries,” its spokesperson Wang Wenbin said. “Now the situation across the border is generally stable and the two sides are in resolving relevant issues through consultations and negotiations”.

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy said the U.S. was looking to “stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs and to stoke geopolitical competition.”

“China has been advocating that the development of bilateral relations between countries should be conducive to regional peace, stability and development, and not infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of a third party. The boundary question is a bilateral matter between China and India. The two sides have been discussing disengagement and de-escalation in the border areas through diplomatic and military channels. China and India have the wisdom and ability to handle their differences properly. There’s no space for a third party to intervene,” it stated.

India and the U.S. discussed the situation in Ladakh at the dialogue, with the eighth round of Corps Commander-level talks expected to take place soon, with little progress towards disengagement and a return to the status quo in the wake of China’s mobilisation of troops and transgressions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) starting early May.

Also read: Also read:  “Likeminded” countries should coordinate fight against COVID-19, says Jaishankar at Quad

On Mr. Pompeo’s remarks on the CPC, the embassy statement said he “repeated old lies, attacked and made allegations against China, violated the norms of international relations and basic principles of diplomacy, instigated China’s relations with other countries in the region, which once again exposed their Cold War mentality and ideological bias,” adding that China “expresses its firm opposition to it”.

U.S.’ COVID-19 response

The statement also hit out at the U.S. government for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and accused it of “trying to shift the blame”.

It said: “This year, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people have achieved strategic victory in fighting the virus. The U.S. side once again tries to shift the blame onto China on COVID-19, which is indeed distorting facts to mislead the public. What China has done and achieved in our fight against the virus are open for all to see. We hope U.S. politicians could focus on their own epidemic response and saving lives instead of shifting the blame on others.”

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