Defending its military infrastructure build up in Dokalam, China today claimed that the area falls within its sovereignty and said Sino-India differences over the border should be resolved in a “calm way” through the existing mechanisms. Commenting on Indian envoy to China Gautam Bambawale’s interview to state-run Chinese daily ‘The Global Times’ where he said the status quo should not be changed along the sensitive areas of the 3,488-km border, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that differences can be addressed through existing mechanisms. “I believe that you are blowing it (Dokalam standoff) out of proportion. I believe that in the post-Dokalam period, India and China need to be talking to each other and conversing with each other much more than in the past” at different levels including at the leadership level, Bambawale had told the daily. India and China ended the 73-day standoff on August 28 last year at Dokalam area after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stopped building a strategic road close to India’s narrow Chicken’s Neck area connecting the northeastern states. “Indeed, we have noted that the ambassador talked about it while addressing the issue,” Hua said when asked about Indian envoy’s remarks.
“The two sides should look at border issues in a calm way and resolve relevant issues through the existing border related mechanisms so that we can create conditions and enabling environment to properly solve our differences,” she said. Besides a mechanism to discuss border tensions, India and China also have special representative-level border talks to resolve the differences over disputed border. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China stretches to 3,488 kms. The two sides held 20 rounds of border to talks to resolve the border issues. Hua reiterated China’s stand that Dokalam, which is also claimed by Bhutan, is very much its territory. “I should stress that it (area) falls within China’s sovereignty that we conduct facility building in Dong Long (Dokalam) area,” Hua responded when asked about the satellite images which showed new Chinese military facilities at Dokalam. “The Sikkim section of the China-India boundary has been demarcated by historic treaty and treaty under effective jurisdiction of China,” she said.
China claims that the Sikkim section of the boundary is resolved under the 1890 treaty between UK and China. “China has always upheld our sovereignty along the border area including (Dong Long) Dokalam,” she said. “Some Indian media has carried reports about the military build up and infrastructure building in the (Dokalam) area. They are very excited about it,” she said. Asked about the local commanders’ meeting held on the Republic Day during which they exchanged pleasantries, Hua said, “the local military personnel and border troops of the two sides held a meeting on India’s Republic Day.”
“We think this is conducive to enhance mutual trust and upholding peace stability along the border areas. We are also willing to enhance our communication and cooperation to better safeguard the security there and to create a better environment in this regard,” she said. The meetings were the first since Dokalam standoff. Chinese military personnel skipped such meetings on the Independence Day last year.