Washington, DC – China reacted sharply to US Assistant Secretary for Bureau Of South And Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu’s statement that China has not taken good faith steps to resolve its border dispute with India. The Chinese embassy spokesperson in New Delhi issued a statement on January 15, saying, “The US State Department official made allegations against China regarding the China-India border issue without any factual basis. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to such acts that a third country point fingers at the bilateral issue between other two countries out of geopolitical consideration.” The spokesperson added that China hoped the US could do more things to contribute to regional peace and stability.
In response to a query from Global Strat View on China’s reaction, a US State Department spokesperson commented, “With regard to the border dispute between India and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the United States continues to support direct dialogue, a reduction in tensions, and a peaceful resolution.”
China has been bristling at the increasing defense cooperation between the US and India. Most recently, the annual bilateral Yudh Abhyas exercise between the United States and India had the Chinese worked up, as it was conducted just 100 kilometers from the Sino-Indian border in Auli in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It unnerved the Chinese to the extent that they wrote an oblique, castigating piece about it in Global Times, alleging that “They have chosen areas close to the China-India border, directly targeting China at the tactical level. New Delhi is no longer shy about its intention to use the US to suppress China.”
During his visit to New Delhi, Donald Lu emphasized that US policy on India and China has always been that the border issue should be resolved bilaterally. During an interview with the Indian news channel NDTV, he noted that the US has not seen China take good-faith steps to resolve the border issue. Quite the contrary, the Chinese have taken aggressive steps, most recently in the Tawang sector in India’s northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh. Lu said that when the Galwan Valley clash took place in 2020, the US was the first to criticize Chinese aggression and offer support to India, and it will continue to stand with India.
The Chinese embassy in India countered Lu’s comments with a statement that “the current China-India border situation is overall stable. The two sides have maintained smooth and constructive communication on boundary-related issues through diplomatic and military channels, and promote the border situation to switch from the phase of emergency response to normalized management and control.”
During his visit to New Delhi, Lu said India would be getting 30 of the most advanced predator-armed drones — the MQ9B — from the US.
China’s aggressions toward its neighboring countries have led to closer defense cooperation with the US and increased military cooperation amongst nations in the Indo-Pacific region. India and Japan are conducting their first joint Air Exercise, ‘Veer Guardian-2023’, at Hyakuri Air Base, Japan, from January 12-26. This exercise will promote Air Defense cooperation between the countries.