China on Friday rejected United States President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation to resolve the border disputes between India and Beijing, PTI reported. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the two countries did not want the intervention from a third party to resolve the current military standoff.
This came a day after India sidestepped Trump’s offer and said its troops were approaching border management responsibly and that the two countries had mechanisms in place to resolve tensions through bilateral talks.
“China and India are capable of properly resolving the issues through dialogue and consultation,” Zhao said at a media briefing when asked about the American president’s offer. “We do not need the intervention of the third party. We have existing border-related mechanisms and communication channels.”
On Wednesday, Trump had offered to help New Delhi and Beijing resolve their ongoing disputes. “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,” Trump tweeted. The president did not elaborate on his offer.
While the US has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on multiple occasions in the past, this is the first time the American president has offered to be the third party mediator between India and China on the border conflict.
Earlier in the day, the government rejected Trump’s claim that he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the situation on the Line of Actual Control with China, or that the two leaders had been in contact at all. “The last conversation between them [Modi and Trump] was on April 4 on the subject of hydroxychloroquine,” unidentified officials told ANI. The president claimed that Modi was not in a “good mood” because of the situation.
Over the last two weeks, Chinese troops have clashed with the Indian Army at several points along the Line of Actual Control. India and China do not share a defined and demarcated border. Instead, there is the Line of Actual Control, which stretches thousands of kilometres from Ladakh all the way to Arunachal Pradesh. On Tuesday, Modi reportedly met the three service chiefs, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat to discuss the border standoff.
The dispute between India and China centres around a strategic bridge being built near Daulat Beg Oldi, a military post south of the Karakoram Pass. China has reportedly asked India to stop building infrastructure even on its own side of the LAC. New Delhi, on the other hand, has asked Beijing to maintain the status quo on the border. In recent weeks, India and China have reportedly deployed additional troops along the LAC at North Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
Last week, India had strongly contested Beijing’s claims that its soldiers had crossed the LAC and entered Chinese territory. The United States had also backed India and said that tensions along the LAC were a reminder of the fact that Chinese aggression could be real, not merely rhetorical.