China repeats demand for remaining 53 Indian troops to leave its territory in disputed region
Any number of troops on Chinese land is a ‘serious invasion’, foreign ministry says in a statement
China’s foreign ministry has reiterated its demand for all Indian troops to withdraw from a disputed border region in the Himalayas, according to an official news website.
“According to our knowledge, there are still 53 people and one bulldozer illegally remaining on Chinese land as of August 7,” it said in a statement published on Wednesday on haiwainet.cn, which is affiliated to People’s Daily.
“China would like to emphasise that India must withdraw all its personnel and arms to the Indian side of the border. Any number of Indian troops remaining on Chinese land is a serious invasion of the Chinese territory,” it said.
The number is a slight increase from the end of last month when 40 Indian troops were reported to be in Chinese territory near the conflict site on the Doklam plateau. At the peak of the dispute there were a reported 400 Indian troops deployed in the area.
The dispute, sparked by a Chinese road-building project at the tri-junction of China, India and Bhutan, has been ongoing since June. China and India have accused each other of territorial intrusion.
There was speculation that China’s foreign minister Wang Yi and India’s minister of external affairs VK Singh might meet to discuss the issue while they were attending a regional summit that closed on Tuesday in Manila, but no such talks were held.
While New Delhi has not denied the presence of its troops, but has called for the dispute to be settled through dialogue. The stand-off is now the longest running dispute between the two countries since they went to war with one another in 1962.