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Mediation offer: India, China say a thumping ‘no’ to Trump

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Beijing/ New Delhi: China and India on Friday rejected US President Donald Trump’s offer to “mediate” between the two countries to end their border standoff, saying the two countries are capable of properly resolving their differences through dialogue and did not require the help of a “third party.”
In a surprise move, Trump on Wednesday offered to “mediate or arbitrate” the raging border dispute between India and China, saying he was “ready, willing and able” to ease the tensions, amid the continuing standoff between the armies of the two Asian giants.
Reacting for the first time to the US president’s offer, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, the two countries did not want the “intervention” from a third party to resolve the current military standoff.
Between China and India we have existing border-related mechanisms and communication channels, Zhao told a media briefing here when asked about Trump’s offer.
“We are capable of properly resolving the issues between us through dialogue and consultation. We do not need the intervention of the third party,” he said.
“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!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
He reiterated his offer on Thursday while speaking to reporters at the White House.
Responding to a question on his tweet, Trump renewed his offer, saying if called for help, “I would do that (mediate). If they thought it would help” about “mediate or arbitrate, I would do that,” he said.
India on Wednesday said it was engaged with China to peacefully resolve the border row, in a carefully crafted reaction to Trump’s offer to arbitrate between the two Asian giants to settle their decades-old dispute.
“We are engaged with the Chinese side to peacefully resolve it,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, replying to questions at an online media briefing.
President Trump has previously offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, a proposal that was rejected by New Delhi.
At the Chinese Foreign Ministry briefing on Friday, the spokesman said China’s position on the China-India boundary question is consistent and clear .
We have been implementing the important consensus reached by leaders of both the countries, observing the bilateral agreements and have been committed to safeguarding territorial sovereignty and security, stability and peace in the border area , Zhao said.
He reiterated his earlier comment that Now the overall situation in the China-India border area is stable and controllable , he said, once again indicating a conciliatory tone amidst the tense situation along the border.
On Thursday, an op-ed in a state-run newspaper also reflected Beijing’s stand on the offer of mediation by President Trump.
The Global Times said China and India does not need help from the US to resolve their current round frictions at the border, pointing out that the leadership of the two countries successfully solved the Doklam standoff in 2017 with “concerted efforts and wisdom.”
“China and India successfully solved their Doklam faceoff with concerted efforts and wisdom. The two informal summits between the leadership of the two sides, one in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2018 and the other in the Indian city of Chennai in 2019, set the tone to maintain peace and tranquility along the border, it said.
Several areas along the Line of Actual Control 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.
India has said the Chinese military was hindering normal patrolling by its troops along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim and strongly refuted Beijing’s contention that the escalating tension between the two armies was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side.
India has said that all Indian activities were carried out on its side of the border, asserting that India has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management. At the same time, it said, India was deeply committed to protect its sovereignty and security.
MEA Spokesperson Srivastava on Thursday said India is committed to the objective of maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control and that Indian troops take a very responsible approach towards border management.
“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 at an online media briefing.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it.
Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.
Srivastava said India was engaged with China at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the ongoing standoff with China, but at the same time asserted that the country is “firm” in its resolve to protect its sovereignty and national security.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on the evening of May 5 which spilled over to the next day before the two sides agreed to “disengage”.
However, the standoff continued.
The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9.
The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in the Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Meanwhile, government sources virtually contradicted US President Donald Trump’s claim of a conversation between him and Prime Minister Narenda Modi on India’s ongoing military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
“There has been no recent contact between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump,” the sources said.
The clarification came hours after Trump said in Washington that he had spoken to Modi and that the Indian prime minister is not in a “good mood” over the “big conflict” between India and China.
The sources said the last conversation between the two leaders was on April 4 on the issue of hydroxychloroquine.
They said the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday made it clear that India was directly in touch with China through established mechanisms and diplomatic contacts to resolve the border row in eastern Ladakh.
Troops of India and China were engaged in a major standoff for over three weeks in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh, in what is turning out to be the biggest confrontation between the two countries after the Doklam episode in 2017.
The trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.
In the midst of the flare-ups between Indian and Chinese armies, Trump on Wednesday said he was “ready, willing and able to mediate” between the two countries.
In its reaction, India on Thursday said it was engaged with China to peacefully resolve the border row, signalling that it was not open to accept the offer of mediation by the US president.
On Thursday, Trump reiterated his offer to mediate between India and China, and said that he spoke to Modi, who is not in a “good mood” over the “big conflict”.
“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,” the US president said during an interaction with journalists in the White House.
Trump previously offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue but New Delhi rejected the proposal. (PTI)

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