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China slams India for road construction in Ladakh

In this Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying speaks during a briefing at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing.   | Photo Credit: AP

China on Thursday slammed India for apparently building a new road in the Ladakh sector, but lavished praise on Pakistan as its key partner. The move signals a sharper polarisation of Beijing’s ties in the subcontinent, following the Doklam crisis.

“It seems that Indian side is slapping its own face,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, in response to reports that India was building a road between Marsimik La to Hot Spring. The area is not far from the Pangong lake in Ladakh, where there was an unarmed clash between Indian and Chinese troops earlier this month.

Ms. Hua’s warning that the decision to build a road could boomerang on India, came in the backdrop of the crisis in the Doklam plateau, where Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a lengthy stand-off.

“Now, the current road construction in that area by the Indian side is not conducive to peace and stability in that area. It will not help with settlement of the current situation,” Ms. Hua said, referring to the face-off in the Sikkim sector.

The spokesperson also accused India of adopting a contradictory stance, in view of New Delhi’s objections to Chinese road construction in the Doklam plateau, which had triggered the face-off. “Indian side is closely following China’s road building recently but India’s action itself has proven that the Indian side says something and does another,” she said, observing that: “Its words are complete contradictions to its deeds on the border issues.”

The foreign ministry also accused India of changing the status quo by stressing that the “western section of China- India boundary has not been delimited and two sides have agreed to uphold peace and tranquillity before the disputes are settled.”

China praises Pakistan

In sharp contrast to its position on India, China on Thursday backed Pakistan as its partner in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Ms. Hua also cited a conversation on Wednesday between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and China’s state councillor Yang Jeichei, where he commended Pakistan on its role in Afghanistan. The phone call followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s South Asia policy statement, where he had cited shortcomings in Pakistan’s counter-terrorism approach.

But quoting Mr. Yang, the spokesperson said: “We also value Pakistan’s role in the Afghanistan issue and respect Pakistan’s sovereign and reasonable security concerns.”

Separately, when asked to comment Pakistan’s foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua’s visit to China, Ms. Hua said that China and Pakistan are “all-weather strategic partners and we have always given each other support for our core concerns and interests.”

“Against the current backdrop we appreciate Pakistan’s efforts in insuring security… in CPEC,” she said.

The visiting foreign secretary, is believed to have assured the Chinese side that there was no shift in Islamabad’s policy towards Beijing after the exit of Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister. Ms. Hua said the visiting official underscored that “China is Pakistan’s ‘iron friend’ and it will never change its policy towards Pakistan no matter how the domestic situation varies. It will remain committed to CPEC and promoting advancement in our bilateral relations.”

Ms. Janjua’s arrival in Beijing follows the visit to Islamabad by China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang, to celebrate 70 years of Pakistan’s independence.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 9:36:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/soft-on-pakistan-china-slams-india-for-road-construction-in-ladakh/article19553208.ece

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