UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is watching the rising border tensions between India and China and has urged both countries not to do anything to heighten it.
His spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said yesterday: “We are obviously looking at the situation and we would urge all the parties involved to avoid any action that would make the situation more tense.”
Asked at his daily briefing about US President Donald Trump’s offer to “mediate or arbitrate” the dispute between the two Asian giants, he said: “That would be for the parties involved to decide who they would want to mediate. This is not for us to opine.”
Indian and Chinese troops are in a standoff along the Line of Actual Control in the western sector in Ladakh, where China’s People’s Liberation Army has reportedly moved two brigades.
Trump had tweeted yesterday: “We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!”
This was Trump’s latest attempt to project himself as an international statesman by inserting himself into disputes that India is embroiled in.
He has offered to mediate or arbitrate between India and Pakistan and even claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to.
India has denied that such a request was ever made.
The standoff was triggered by India’s construction of roads and air strips in the region as it competes with China’s spreading Belt and Road initiative, involving infrastructure development and investment in dozens of countries, Indian observers have said.
Both are digging defences and Chinese trucks have been moving equipment into the area, the officials said, raising concerns about an extended standoff.
China’s ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, struck a conciliatory note, saying the two Asian countries should not let their differences overshadow the broader bilateral relationship.
“We should adhere to the basic judgment that China and India are each other’s opportunities and pose no threat to each other. We need to see each other’s development in a correct way and enhance strategic mutual trust,” he said, speaking in a webinar on China’s experience of fighting Covid-19.
“We should correctly view our differences and never let the differences shadow the overall situation of bilateral cooperation.”
The two countries are engaged in talks to defuse the border crisis, an Indian government source said.
“These things take time, but efforts are on at various levels, military commanders as well as diplomats,” the source said.
The Chinese side has been insisting that India stop construction near the Line of Actual Control or the de facto border.
India says all the work is being done on its side of the border and that China must pull back its troops.
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