International

Japanese envoy's support to India on Doklam riles China

The comments made by Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambasssador of Japan to India, ratifying New Delhi’s line on the Doklam crisis have irked China, which issued a statement asking the envoy not to make remarks on the issue without clarifying facts.

The comments made by Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambasssador of Japan to India, ratifying New Delhi’s line on the Doklam crisis have irked China, which issued a statement asking the envoy not to make remarks on the issue without clarifying facts.   | Photo Credit: Mohd Arif

China reacted sharply to Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu’s comments supporting India’s position on Doklam, although India refused to react to the comments that came as the first clear show of backing from a major power on the two-month long standoff at the India-China-Japan trijunction.

“I have seen the Japanese Ambassador in India really wants to support India. I want to remind him not to randomly make comments before clarifying the facts,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in Beijing.

Japanese Embassy stands by comments

According to the Japanese Embassy in Delhi, Mr. Hiramatsu made a statement “consistent with our position on the international rule of law,” when he advised all parties concerned with the Doklam standoff not to “resort to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, and resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner”.

Since June 16, when Indian and Chinese troops first faced off at the disputed Doklam plateau, India has accused the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of constructing a road that would change the status quo on the ground, and also of changing the tri-junction point agreed to on the Sikkim-Tibet boundary. In its statement on June 29, the Government of Bhutan had also accused the PLA of violating its agreements,and demanded that the “status quo in the Doklam area be maintained as before 16 June 2017”.

As a result, Mr. Hiramatsu’s comments, which have sparked off a war of words with Beijing, are seen as direct criticism of China’s position and unqualified support for India on the Doklam issue. A Japanese embassy official told The Hindu that Mr. Hiramatsu’s comments should be read as a reiteration of Japan’s traditional position on resolving disputes, and added that Japan welcomes External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s statement that the Doklam standoff should be ended through early dialogue.

When asked about the Japanese Ambassador’s comments, and whether the support on Doklam had been conveyed by Japan directly, the Ministry of External Affairs refused to comment on Friday.

MEA: envoy’s statement speaks for itself

“Who is supporting us, who has sent us a memo, I will not be able to share with the media,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, acknowledging that he had seen the Ambassador’s comments. “I think the statement made by the [Japanese] ambassador speaks for itself.”

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 1:19:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/japanese-envoy-support-to-india-on-doklam-riles-china/article19518776.ece

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