China and India “effectively managed and controlled” border frictions in eastern Ladakh, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in his year-end speech, highlighting the performance of his ministry this year.
Wang’s remark comes in the midst of the lingering border row between the two countries in eastern Ladakh.
“China and India have maintained dialogue through diplomatic and military channels, and effectively managed and controlled frictions in certain border areas, under a shared commitment to improving and developing the bilateral relations,” Wang said in a brief reference to the efforts to the resolution of the tense standoff at several points of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
The military standoff at Eastern Ladakh has brought the relations between the two countries to a standstill.
The border standoff between the armies of India and China erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the Gogra area in August and in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in February.
The two sides held the 12th round of talks on July 31. Days later, the two armies completed the disengagement process in Gogra, which was seen as a significant forward movement towards the restoration of peace and tranquillity in the region.
Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the mountainous sector.
What was stated to be a silver lining in this conflict, both sides remained engaged at the Foreign Ministers level to the top military Commanders besides through the WMCC (Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination) to keep the tensions under control.
In his speech, Wang said that “for China’s diplomacy, the past year has seen us acting under the strong leadership of the CPC (ruling Communist Party of China) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, embracing a global vision and serving the nation and our people”.
“We have opened up new vistas amidst global changes, turned crisis into opportunities in a complex world, and steadfastly forged ahead through struggle as well as cooperation,” he said.
He highlighted the growing strategic relations between China and Russia being reinforced as a push back against the US and the EU countries’ strong criticism of the alleged human rights violations and a host of other issues.
“Guided by the two presidents, the China-Russia relationship has stood all kinds of tests and grown ever more vibrant…The China-Russia partnership has stayed rock-solid. No matter how the international situation may evolve, China and Russia will remain unchanged in their commitment to an ever-lasting friendship, to the joint pursuit of win-win cooperation, and to shared resolve to upholding peace,” he said.
On China-US ties, he said both sides have explored a new mode of interactions based on mutual respect and equality.
Since the beginning of this year, President Xi has had two requested telephone conversations with President Joe Biden, and the two presidents also held their first virtual meeting recently, Wang said.
“It is hoped that the US side will follow through on the common understandings of the two presidents, honour its commitment, earn trust from others, and work with China to explore a way of peaceful coexistence between the two major countries,” he said.
On priorities for 2022, Wang said, “we will resolutely fight off any threats and challenges that may undermine China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and we will firmly fight back against any despicable attempts to interfere in China’s internal affairs or discredit the country,” he said.