China issues 'map' to lay claim over Sikkim's Donglong region

Jon Howard
July 2, 2017

China on Friday indicated it was open for talks with India, saying a "meaningful dialogue" over the border stand-off is the "pressing issue".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said there was no dispute over Donglong, which belonged to China and not to India or Bhutan.

Under it, Beijing wants Thimphu to cede control over Doklam plateau, while it surrenders claims to the 495 sq km of territory in Jakurlung and Pasamlung valleys in northern Bhutan. The Indian Army has, however, blocked the construction by China in the region which is a territory of dispute between Bhutan and China.

Beijing has accused India of obstructing road building in the area, which it claims as its own.

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Two images released by the Chinese state with Indian troops and road tractors way beyond a red line that the Chinese claim is the border, need to be addressed by the Indian forces before discounting the Chinese side's story.

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New Delhi has so far not responded to the charges of Beijing, which on Thursday released two photos of Indian troops "trespassing Chinese boundary".

The matter has since been under discussion between India and China at the diplomatic level.

On 16 June, a PLA construction party came in with earth movers and other heavy equipment to build a road in the Doklam area.

The present standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doka La (Doklam) is a rare insight into New Delhi's very special relationship with Bhutan, which includes military responsibilities towards it. And that both India and Bhutan have been in close touch since the construction began. Lu said that to maintain good China-Indian ties, the Chinese government has made great efforts to offer convenience for Indian pilgrims. "Both sides have worked hard to establish institutional framework to discuss all issues to ensure peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas and India is committed to working with China to find peaceful resolution of all issues in the border areas through dialogues".

Reacting to China's contention, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it was essential that all parties concerned displayed utmost restraint and abide by their respective bilateral understandings not to change the status quo unilaterally.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month that the two countries should work to "appropriately" manage their differences.

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