China has finally reacted to US President Donald Trump’s offer to “mediate or arbitrate” on the Indo-Sino border dispute, saying that there was “no need for a third-party intervention” between Beijing and New Delhi.
Rejecting Trump’s mediation offer, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “China and India are capable of properly resolving the issues through dialogue and consultation.”
Reacting for the first time to the US President’s offer, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said said the two countries did not want the “intervention” from a third party to resolve the military standoff.
“Between China and India we have existing border-related mechanisms and communication channels,” Zhao told reporters and added “We are capable of properly resolving the issues between us through dialogue and consultation. We do not need the intervention of the third party.”
Amid heightened tensions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday made a surprise offer to mediate between India and China over what he calls “their now raging border dispute”.
“We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!,” President Trump tweeted.
However, in a carefully crafted reaction to Trump’s offer to arbitrate, India on Thursday said it was engaged with China to peacefully resolve the border row.
“We are engaged with the Chinese side to peacefully resolve it,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, replying to a volley of questions at an online media briefing.
“The two sides have established mechanisms both at military and diplomatic levels to resolve situations which may arise in border areas peacefully through dialogue and continue to remain engaged through these channels,” he said.
Although, the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not react then, an op-ed in the state-run Global Times said both countries did not need such help from the US president.
“The latest dispute can be solved bilaterally by China and India. The two countries should keep alert on the US, which exploits every chance to create waves that jeopardise regional peace and order,” it said.
Trump’s unexpected offer came on a day when China took an apparently conciliatory tone by saying that the situation at the border with India is “overall stable and controllable.”
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday that both China and India have proper mechanisms and communication channels to resolve the issues through dialogue and consultations.
Meanwhile, China’s official response on the matter today comes as US President Donald Trump on Thursday, while reiterating his offer to “mediate”, said that he spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Indo-Sino border dispute.
In a startling claim, Donald Trump on Thursday said he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is “not in a good mood” over the border row between India and China.
“They like me in India. I think they like me in India more than the media likes me in this country. And, I like Modi. I like your prime minister a lot. He is a great gentleman,” Trump said speaking to reporters at the Oval Office of the White House.
“They have a big conflict …India and China. Two countries with 1.4 billion people (each). Two countries with very powerful militaries. India is not happy and probably China is not happy,” the president said when asked if he was worried about the border situation between India and China.
“I can tell you; I did speak to Prime Minister Modi. He is not in a good mood about what is going on with China,” Trump claimed.
However, Indian government officials have contradicted the claim saying that the last conversation between the two leaders was on April 4 on the matter related to Hydroxychloroquine.
“There has been no recent contact between PM Modi and US President Trump. The last conversation between them was on 4 April, 2020, on the subject of Hydroxychloroquine,” said government sources, according to media reports.
“Yesterday, the Ministry of External Affairs had also made it clear that we’re directly in touch with China through established mechanisms and diplomatic contacts,” they said.
Several areas along the LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim have witnessed major military build-up by both the Indian and Chinese armies recently, in a clear signal of escalating tension and hardening of respective positions by the two sides even two weeks after they were engaged in two separate face-offs.
The nearly 3,500-km-long LAC is the de-facto border between the two countries.
Indian and Chinese troops have remained engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation in several areas along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, signalling that the standoff could become the biggest military face-off after the Doklam crisis in 2017.
Earlier, the United States had accused China of engaging in provocative and coercive military and paramilitary activities with neighbouring countries including India.
The offer for mediation has come as a surprise as the US-China military frictions are also on the rise with the US navy stepping its patrols in the disputed South China Sea as well as the Taiwan Straits. Washington and Beijing are also engaged in a war of words over the origin of the Coronavirus pandemic.