China-India border dispute

Chinese military made multiple attempts to negotiate with India to end stand-off, ministry says

China will boost patrols in disputed area and continue making road building plans ‘taking into consideration various factors’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 August, 2017, 10:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 August, 2017, 10:52pm

China’s defence ministry said on Thursday it made multiple attempts to negotiate with India during their protracted stand-off in the Himalayas through military and border defence channels.

Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang also told reporters in Beijing that China would boost patrols in the disputed region and would continue to make road building plans “taking into consideration various factors”.

The two countries on Monday ended a face-off on the remote Doklam plateau that began in mid-June when China began building a road in the disputed area close to Bhutan.

“Not in a single moment have we forgotten our responsibility of safeguarding the motherland and upholding peace,” Ren said. “Not in a single moment have we relented in our targeted preparation for military struggle.”

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Ren said that during the stand-off, the Chinese military had put emergency response measures into action, stepped up border patrols and made deployments to ensure combat readiness.

Efforts to communicate with the Indian military had played an important role in ending the 70-day face-off, he said.

“The Chinese side will continue to strengthen patrols in the Donglang area,” Ren said, using the Chinese name for Doklam. “In the future, we will continue to make plans for infrastructure construction, taking into consideration various factors including the weather conditions.”

Ren also defended China’s roadworks, saying they were needed to “better guard our border and improve the living and working conditions of the military and civilians in the area”.

China ‘halts road building’ to end India border stand-off

Details are sketchy as to how the worst border dispute between the two countries in more than three decades came to an end.

India’s foreign ministry on Monday announced an “expeditious disengagement” of troops from Doklam after agreement was reached between the two sides.

China’s foreign ministry meanwhile said it was pleased that “trespassing Indian personnel have all pulled back to the Indian side of the boundary” but would not confirm whether China had stopped the roadworks.

Instead, its spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “We will consider various factors such as weather conditions when formulating infrastructure plans.”

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Ren on Thursday also dismissed as “pure fabrication” reports that China had provided a subsidised loan to India in exchange for a troop withdrawal.

“We have checked with the related authorities within the government and such reports are pure fabrication,” he said.

When asked whether an annual China-India military exercise would be held as usual this year, Ren said only that the two nations needed to improve strategic communications to avoid miscalculations.