Not for third party in LAC talks, China tells U.S.

PLA Senior Colonel says 14th round of talks on the dispute with India was ‘positive and constructive’

Updated - January 27, 2022 10:50 pm IST

Published - January 27, 2022 10:49 pm IST - Hong Kong

Indian and Chinese troops wait at the LAC to exchange sweets on January 1, 2022.

Indian and Chinese troops wait at the LAC to exchange sweets on January 1, 2022.

China’s military said on Thursday it was “opposed to third-party involvement” in the India-China border dispute, as it hit out at comments from Washington about Beijing “intimidating” its neighbours.

“The China-India border issue is a matter between China and India, and both sides have expressed their opposition to third-party involvement,” People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence, said in Beijing. He appeared to be referring to comments from Washington ahead of the 14th round of talks between Indian and Chinese military commanders earlier this month saying the U.S. was “closely monitoring” the situation and that it was concerned about Beijing’s “destabilising” behaviour and “attempt to intimidate its neighbours”.

Also read | PLA returns missing Arunachal youth to Indian Army

“Some people on the U.S. side like to use the word ‘coercion’ but they do not know that the U.S. is the originator and master of ‘coercive diplomacy’,” Col. Wu said, adding that China was “firmly opposed to the U.S. engaging in ‘coercive diplomacy’ with other countries”.

“China will work together with the Indian side to continue to properly deal with the border issue through negotiations,” he added. The PLA spokesperson described the 14th round of talks as “positive and constructive”. He referred to the joint statement put out by both sides after the talks agreeing to “stay in close contact and maintain dialogue” to work out a “mutually acceptable resolution” of remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

While there was no agreement to disengage in the three remaining areas of difference — the focus of the 14th round was Hot Springs, where both sides are thought to be close to agreeing on a plan to disengage, while differences in Demchok and Depsang are more pronounced with the prospects of an early resolution unlikely — the joint statement struck a more positive note than the previous round, when both sides traded accusations and failed to issue a joint statement.

Also read | India, China agree for more LAC talks

China, Indian officials have said, has dragged its feet in the slow-moving negotiations to return to status quo on the LAC, prior to the multiple transgressions by the PLA starting in April 2020.

The PLA spokesperson said there were four points of agreement reached in the last round.

“First, the two sides agreed that they should follow the guidance provided by the leaders of the two countries and work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest,” he said. “Second, the two sides agreed to consolidate the previous outcomes and take effective efforts to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector including in winter. Third, they agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest. Fourth, they agreed that the next round of the Commanders’ talks should be held at the earliest.”

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