International

China says road construction in Sikkim sector is ‘legitimate’

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang during a news conference in Beijing. File  

Amid a standoff in the Sikkim sector of the border, China on Wednesday warned India that future visits of its pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar through the Nathu La pass will depend on whether it will “correct its errors.”

Beijing also termed the construction of a road in the Sikkim sector of the Sino-India border as “legitimate”, asserting that it was being built on Chinese territory that neither belongs to India nor Bhutan and no other country had the right to interfere.

‘Indisputable territory’

“Donglang is part of China’s territory. This is indisputable. The Donglang area belonged to China since ancient times and it doesn’t belong to Bhutan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told the media here.

“India wants to raise an issue with this part. I should say it doesn’t belong to Bhutan, nor it belongs to India. So we have complete legal basis for this. Chinese construction of the road project is legitimate and normal action on its territory. No other country has the right to interfere,” he said, while replying to a question.

Mr. Lu defended China’s decision to shut the Nathu La pass for Indian pilgrims, saying that China had agreed to open the route as the boundary there had been delineated with the consent of both the countries.

“For a long time, China provided great conveniences to the pilgrims. Based on the consensus between the two countries’ leaders, and on the fact that the Sikkim sector boundary is delineated and recognised by the two countries, the Chinese side in 2015 opened the Nathu La pass for Indian pilgrims,” he said.

For two years it worked well and in fact this year also the Chinese authorities had prepared for the reception of Indian pilgrims and informed the Indian side about it, Mr. Lu said. “The suspension of the same is an emergency response to the situation there. I want to stress that the resumption of entry to pilgrims through the Nathu La pass requires necessary atmosphere and conditions, he said. “when or whether India will correct its errors,” Mr. Lu said.

China also hinted that India was objecting to its efforts to build the road in Donglang area of the Sikkim sector on behalf of Bhutan, which does not have any diplomatic ties with Beijing.

Taking a dig at India, Mr. Lu said Bhutan is a recognised sovereign country. “If any third party interferes, it is disrespect of the sovereignty of Bhutan,” he said.

 

Pak. gets pat on back

China on Wednesday put up a strong defence of its all-weather ally Pakistan, saying it was at the frontlines of the fight against terrorism, a day after India and the U.S. asked Islamabad to rein in cross-border terror. “ The international community should give full recognition and affirmation to Pakistan’s efforts in this regard,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said here. “Pakistan stands at the frontlines of the counter terrorism fight,” Mr. Lu said.

 


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 5:29:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/sikkim-standoff-china-says-road-construction-legitimate/article19159514.ece

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