China on Thursday said its new land border protection law will not harm the implementation of existing boundary treaties with other countries, including India, PTI reported.
“Such unilateral move will have no bearing on the arrangements that both sides have already reached earlier, whether it is on the boundary question or for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LAC in India-China border areas,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing on Thursday.
The new law, which was adopted on October 25, came amid China’s ongoing standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control. The law will now govern how Beijing guards its 22,000-km long land border that it shares with 14 countries, including India, Russia, North Korea, Mongolia and Bhutan.
On Wednesday, India criticised China’s new law, saying that it can have implications on existing bilateral agreements.
Wang on Thursday said that the law passed by China on guarding boundaries is normal and that it serves China’s “realistic needs”, PTI reported. “This law has clear stipulations on China’s cooperation with its neighbouring countries and the handling of the land border issues,” he said.
He added that China had 14 land neighbours and the new law is meant to strengthen border management and advance cooperation with the countries.
“It will not affect China’s implementation of existing border treaties nor will it change existing practice in our cooperation with neighbouring countries,” Wang said. “It does not mean that there is a change in our position on the border development issue.”
The new law says that China can close down its border if a war or other armed conflict nearby threatens the country’s border security. It also strengthens the Army’s policy to work closely with civilians at border areas to form the first line of defence.
It gives “relevant responsibilities” to China’s People’s Liberation Army, the militia and the local government to support and coordinate defence and build border infrastructure.
India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June last year. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China put the number of casualties on its side at four.
After several rounds of talks, India and China had disengaged from Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh in February. After the commander level talks on July 31, the two countries also agreed to disengage from Gogra.
The two countries recently held the 13th round of military talks but could not make a breakthrough. At the meeting, India told China that its “unilateral attempts to alter the status quo” had led to tensions along the Line of Actual Control, the Army said.
On the other hand, China claimed that India had insisted on “unreasonable and unrealistic demands”, which made the negotiations more difficult.