Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong on Friday criticised his British counterpart Philip Barton for his comments on the recent border tensions in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, and asserted the issue was a bilateral matter that required no “third-party interference”.
Barton on Thursday had said that China’s actions around the globe, including imposing a national security law in Hong Kong and the border standoff with India, posed a challenge for the world, the Hindustan Times reported. The diplomat added that Britain will work with its partners to call out Beijing’s violation of international laws.
However, the Chinese diplomat accused Barton of making false allegations. “Noted remarks regarding China by [the] British High Commissioner to India [are] rife with mistakes and false allegations,” he tweeted. “Boundary question falls within bilateral scope [between] China and India. We have wisdom and capability to properly handle differences. No need for third party interference.”
Sun claimed the real challenges in South China Sea come from powers outside the region that are “stirring up territorial and maritime disputes and undermining regional peace and stability”. On Hong Kong affairs, he added, China will allow no foreign interference.
On Tuesday, China’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Liu Xiaoming had also accused Britain of blatantly interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs by suspending an extradition treaty with Hong Kong. This came a day after UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that the treaty would be suspended immediately, after China’s decision to enact a new national security law for Hong Kong.
Barton’s comments on Thursday came in response to questions posed by journalists at his first press conference after being posted to India, according to The Mint. The diplomat had said that he welcomed the lessening of tensions between India and China on the border through talks.
“There are challenges around the world on all sorts of Chinese actions, for us Hong Kong particularly is a focus, clearly for India the LAC [Line of Actual Control] is a particular focus,” Barton said. “These are concerning things and our hope would be that there can be de-escalation, and tensions do seem to have eased over the last week or two after the tragic loss of lives.”
The fighting that broke out between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control last month, saw the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops killed. It was the worst assault between the two nations since 1967. After this, four round of talks were held between the commanders of the two armies to work out details of disengagement from the stand-off areas.
However, reports on Friday suggested that China has not yet withdrawn its troops from all areas along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, even after several rounds of talks with India to discuss disengagement and deescalation of border tensions.
Officials said that Chinese troops are still stationed at the Depsang Plains region, Gogra and the Fingers region along the Pangong Lake, where India and China had created a neutral zone. The officials added that while disengagement has happened in Galwan, Hot Springs and a part of the Fingers region, there has been no progress in Gogra and Depsang plains.
Last week, the Ministry of External Affairs said there was no change in its position on the disputed Line of Actual Control and that the disengagement on the border to resolve tensions with China was an “ongoing process”.