China on Thursday said India has “slapped its own face” by deciding to build a road near Pangong Lake in Ladakh and it would only worsen the Doklam dispute. Beijing said the western sector of the boundary where India plans to build a road is not “delimited”. It warned that the move was not “conducive” to peace in the region. India’s Home Ministry has reportedly approved the building of a road from Marsimik La to Hot Spring in Ladakh. Marsimik La is about 20 km from Pangong Lake, where Indian and Chinese troops scuffled last week. India and China have a dispute over the Line of Actual Control in the western sector of Ladakh. “It seems that the Indian side is slapping its own face,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said reacting to the development. “The Indian side is closely following China’s road building, but India’s action itself has proven that the Indian side says something and does another,” she added.
“Its words are complete contradictions to its deeds on the border issues,” she added. “Now, the current road construction in that area by the Indian side is not conducive to peace and stability in that area.” “It will not help with settlement of the current situation,” Hua said referring to the Doklam crisis. “I should stress that the western section of the China-India boundary has not been delimited and the two sides have agreed to uphold peace and tranquillity before the disputes are setlled,” Hua said. Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim section for the past three months, which has led to escalation in bilateral tensions.
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The dispute began when India stalled the construction of a Chinese road in Doklam, which lies in the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan. Bhutan has also protested China’s road building activity in its territory. New Delhi perceives the Chinese road in Doklam a threat as the region is very close to its Siliguri corridor which connects India’s northeast with rest of the country. The 3,488 km de facto India-China border is divided into three sectors: west, middle and east.