China on Tuesday said that its border standoff with India is a bilateral concern and there is no space for the intervention of a third party. The country’s statement came after United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about the Galwan Valley clash and said that the US will support India’s fight against threats to its sovereignty.

“The two sides have been discussing disengagement and de-escalation in the border areas through diplomatic and military channels,” the Chinese Embassy said in a statement. “China and India have the wisdom and ability to handle their differences properly. There’s no space for a third party to intervene.”

India and US held a key “2+2” dialogue on Tuesday, where Pompeo had called for cooperation between the two countries to counter Chinese aggression at the meeting. China strongly objected to this and criticised the US for “repeating old lies” against it.

“The US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and other senior official repeated old lies, attacked and made allegations against China, violated the norms of international relations and basic principles of diplomacy, instigated China’s relations with other countries in the region, which once again exposed their Cold War mentality and ideological bias,” it said.

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China also said that the US wanted to remain in a dominant global position. “The Indo-Pacific strategy proposed by the US is to stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs and to stoke geopolitical competition, in a bid to maintain the dominance of the US, organize closed and exclusive ideological cliques,” China said.

“The difficulties and challenges facing the world could only be coped with when all people join hands and pull together. Peaceful development and win-win cooperation are the only right path forward... We urge the US side to respect facts and truth, abandon the Cold War and the zero-sum mentality, stop hyping up the so-called ‘China threat’, and stop the wrong actions that undermine regional peace and stability.”

— Chinese Embassy

Pompeo had spoken about the Galwan Valley clash at a press conference after the “2+2” dialogue on Tuesday. US Defence Secretary Mark T Esper, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were also present at the press briefing.

“This morning, we went to the National War Memorial and honoured the brave men and women of the Indian armed forces who sacrificed for the world’s largest democracy, including 20 killed by PLA [China’s People’s Liberation Army] in Galwan Valley,” Pompeo had said. “The US will stand with India as they confront threats to their sovereignty and liberty.”

Pompeo had also criticised the Chinese government. “Our leaders and citizens see with increasing clarity that [the] Chinese Communist Party is no friend to democracy, rule of law and transparency,” he had said. “I’m glad to say India and the US are taking all steps to strengthen cooperation against all manner of threats and not just those posed by CCP.”

US and India also signed an important military agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation, or BECA, which will give New Delhi access to advanced American satellite and map data for better accuracy of its missiles and drones.

India-China standoff

Military heads of the two countries have engaged in several rounds of talks over the last three months after 20 Indian and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in violent clashes in Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15.

On October 13, Beijing had said that it did not recognise Indian sovereignty over Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, claiming that India had illegally occupied Ladakh. In response, the Ministry of External Affairs said China has no locus standi to comment on the matter. The ministry said Ladakh as well as Arunachal Pradesh are integral parts of India and this has been conveyed to the Chinese side on many occasions.

On September 10, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. The two ministers agreed on a five-point plan to defuse tensions between the countries and said the current situation in the border areas of Ladakh was “not in the interest of either side”. They agreed, therefore, that the border troops of both sides should “continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions”.