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China sidesteps issue of road construction in Doklam

PLA’s live drills are meant to reinforce the perception that a military option in Doklam is under active consideration.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday sidestepped the issue of road construction in the Doklam plateau, which had triggered the stand-off with India.

In response to a question whether China has halted the construction of a road in the Doklam plateau, ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “Chinese border troops continue to be stationed and patrol in order to meet the needs of defending our borders and improving living conditions.”

She added, “We will take into consideration all factors, including weather, to make relevant construction plans according to situations on ground.”

The stand-off in the Doklam plateau was triggered by China’s attempt to build a road in the area that may threaten the Siliguri corridor — the narrow passage that links the Northeast with the rest of India.

Ms. Hua said Indian border personnel and equipment “have all pulled back to Indian side”.

Separately, in an email response to The Hindu, former China’s Consul General to India Mao Siwei said that “judging from experience and common knowledge, both sides will highly likely reach consensus very soon”.

He added: “First in principle China will suspend building the road and Indian troops would withdraw.” Specifically on the sequence of disengagement he underscored that, “In terms of timing, India will withdraw first and China will follow after that.”

“This is a wise choice made by the two top leaders facing tremendous extreme nationalist sentiments in both countries. China gave up the choice of war and stepped back to gain more. India decided to attend the BRICS and continue maintain normal relations with China,” observed Mr. Mao.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 7:44:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-side-steps-issue-of-road-construction-in-doklam/article19581244.ece

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