US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Indians have done their best to respond to China’s “incredibly aggressive actions”, asserting that Beijing has a pattern of “instigating” territorial disputes and the world shouldn’t allow this bullying to take place.
“I’ve spoken with India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar a number of times about this (Chinese aggressive actions). The Chinese took incredibly aggressive actions. The Indians have done their best to respond to that,” Pompeo told reporters in Washington.
Pompeo was responding to questions about the Chinese intrusion into Indian territories in eastern Ladakh.
The Indian and Chinese armies have been locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last two months, and the tension escalated manifold after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15.
The clash in Galwan Valley is the biggest confrontation between the two militaries after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La when India lost around 80 soldiers while the death count on the Chinese side was over 300.
However, the Chinese military on Monday began withdrawing troops from the Galwan Valley and Gogra Hot Spring after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held lengthy talks on Sunday.
“I put this in the context of (Chinese) General Secretary Xi Jinping and his behavior throughout the region and, indeed, throughout the world,” Pompeo said.
“I don’t think it’s possible to look at that particular instance of Chinese Communist Party aggression in isolation. I think you need to put it in the larger context,” he said.
The CCP recently filed a boundary dispute with Bhutan at a meeting of the Global Environmental Facility.
“From the mountain ranges of the Himalayas to the waters of Vietnam’s exclusive zone to the …islands and beyond Beijing has a pattern of instigating territorial disputes,” Pompeo said.
“The world should not allow this bullying to take place. Nor should it permit it to continue,” the top US diplomat asserted.
Reiterating that the CCP has engaged in both maritime and boundary disputes, he said there aren’t many neighbours that can satisfactorily say that they know where their sovereignty ends in that the Chinese Communist Party will respect that sovereignty. “That’s certainly true now for the people of Bhutan as well,” he said.
“This is what the world must come together to respond to, this increasing revisionist effort that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in. It’s something that President (Donald) Trump has taken incredibly seriously,” he said.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are vital to global trade.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area.
Last week, US President Donald Trump had said that Beijing’s aggressive stance along its border with India fits with the larger pattern of Chinese aggression in other parts of world and confirms the “true nature” of the Chinese Communist Party.
Last month, the United States had criticised the Chinese Army for “escalating” the border tension with India and described the ruling Chinese Communist Party as a “rogue actor.”
Mike Pompeo launching a scathing attack on the Chinese government, said that the Chinese Communist Party wants to undo all the progress the free world has made through institutions like NATO and adopt a new set of rules and norms that accommodate Beijing.
“The PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has escalated border tensions with India, the world’s most populous democracy. It’s militarising the South China Sea and illegally claiming more territory there, threatening vital sea lanes,” said Pompeo.
A few days later, Pompeo said that the US was reviewing its global deployment of forces to ensure it is postured appropriately to counter the People’s Liberation Army, given the increasing threat posed by China to Asian countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The threats from China to India and countries in Southeast Asia and the challenges in the South China Sea are going to dictate the allocation of defence resources as US cuts troop levels in Germany, he said.
Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo has also lauded India’s “clean app approach” saying New Delhi’s decision to ban 59 Chinese apps will “boost the country’s sovereignty and boost integrity and national security”.
He further stated that the United States is “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.
(With PTI inputs)