Asserting that China and India are “important neighbours to each other”, China on Wednesday said maintaining peace and tranquillity along the Sino-India border is in the common interests of both the parties and requires joint efforts.
In separate statements, the Chinese foreign and the defence ministries, however, repeated Beijing’s stand that India was responsible for the June 15 violent face-off in eastern Ladakh.
In the Chinese text circulated in his online press conference, Defence Ministry Spokesman Col Wu Qian said the two defence ministers are negotiating on the phone. “The two sides held a second military-level meeting on June 22 to exchange in-depth views on controlling tensions and maintaining peace and stability in the border areas,” he said.
But the English text circulated later made no reference to the defence ministers’ talks.
In New Delhi, when asked whether the two defence ministers are negotiating on the phone, the ministry officials said it was “not correct.”
“China and India are important neighbours to each other. Maintaining a peaceful and tranquil border region is in the common interests of both sides and requires common efforts as well,” Wu said.
“We hope that India will work with China, follow faithfully the important consensus reached between the two leaders, abide by the agreements reached between the two governments, and properly handle relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation on various levels,” he said.
“The two sides should make great efforts to jointly ease the current border situation and uphold peace and stability in the border areas,” he said.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said the foreign ministers of the two sides during their telephone talk on June 17 agreed to deal with this serious matter in a just way.
“The two sides will stick to the Commander level meeting consensus and cool down the situations soon as possible. The two sides will also try to maintain peace and tranquility of the border areas, in accordance with the agreement reached so far,” he said.
Zhao also said that a second round of Commander level meeting was held on June 22 and 23 during which the “two sides agreed to take measures to de-escalate the situation and jointly promote peace and tranquility.”
The talks were held in the midst of escalating tension between the two countries following the violent clashes in Galwan Valley on June 15 that left 20 Indian Army personnel dead, significantly escalating the already volatile situation in the region.
Zhao again accused India of “provoking” a border clash, saying “the onus is not on China’s part.”
“This risky behaviour by the Indian side greatly violated the agreement between the two countries and the basic norms guiding international relations. It’s very serious, with very severe consequences,” he said. Asked why after a positive meeting between the Commanders of the two armed forces, he is repeating the allegations, Zhao said, “what I have just said is meant to clarify the whole situation, tell the truth to everyone. We made this statement because the MEA in India and also Indian media have made some false reports.”