INTERNATIONAL

China slams India over road-building in Ladakh

Tense times:Army personnel being briefed along the India-China border. Beijing is incensed at New Delhi’s decision to build a road between Marsimik La and Hot Spring.File Photo

Tense times:Army personnel being briefed along the India-China border. Beijing is incensed at New Delhi’s decision to build a road between Marsimik La and Hot Spring.File Photo  

China on Thursday slammed India for apparently building a new road in the Ladakh sector, but lavished praise on Pakistan, which it said was a key partner.

“It seems that the 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 and 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 comments come against the backdrop of a crisis in the Doklam plateau near India-China-Bhutan tri-junction, where Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a standoff over road-building by China.

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

Countering Trump

China also backed Pakistan as its partner in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Ms. Hua cited a conversation on Wednesday between U.S. 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 on this week’s visit to China by Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Ms. Hua said 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”.

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