United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said that the world was being tested by China’s territorial claims in India and Bhutan but it was prepared to counter the “bullying and threats”, PTI reported.
“They talk about bringing socialism with Chinese characteristics to the world,” Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee during a Congressional hearing. “Claims that they have now made for real estate in Bhutan, the incursion that took place in India, these are indicative of Chinese intentions, and they are testing, they are probing the world to see if we are going to stand up to their threats and their bullying.”
“I am more confident than I was even a year ago that the world is prepared to do that,” Pompeo added. “There’s a lot more work to do, and we need to be serious about it.”
Indian and Chinese troops had clashed in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, along the Line of Control on June 15. Twenty Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed. Since then, four round of talks have been held between the commanders of the two armies to work out details of disengagement from the stand-off areas. On Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that China had not disengaged from the disputed ares, contrary to its claims.
China had also staked its claim over the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan at the Global Environment Facility last month. China said that the Trashigang district bordering India and China, where the sanctuary is situated, was a disputed site.
Pompeo claimed that the US’ diplomatic efforts had awakened the world to Chinese threats. “Our vigorous diplomacy has helped lead an international awakening to the threat of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party],” he was quoted as saying by Reuters. “Senators, the tide is turning.”
The relations between US and China have become increasingly strained amid the coronavirus pandemic, with President Donald Trump repeatedly blaming the country for the uncontrollable spread of the disease. US has also criticised China over its new security laws in Hong Kong. Earlier this month, Trump had signed an order to end special trade preferences for Hong Kong to punish China for its “oppressive actions”.