China on Monday did not deny reports that its troops were present in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (POK) along the Line of Control (LoC), with the foreign ministry saying it was not aware of any such deployment.
The foreign ministry’s stand, however, was clear on the latest reports of an incursion by Chinese troops across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – it denied that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers had crossed it.
Reacting to reports in the Indian media, the official Chinese media warned India that it cannot afford tense situations along the borders with both Pakistan and China.
The foreign ministry blamed the Indian media for “hyping” the issue.
“There is no such thing as going beyond the border. We deeply regret that the media keeps hyping up the relevant issue,” China foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a regular news briefing on Monday.
Asked about the presence of PLA soldiers in PoK, Lu was vague. “I have not heard about the incident mentioned,” he said, before going on to give China’s usual formal position on the issue of Kashmir.
In response to a question on whether the presence of PLA troops was connected to work on the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), over which India has conveyed its protest, Lu merely reiterated China’s stand on the Kashmir issue.
“China’s position on the Kashmir issue is consistent. The relevant issue is left over from history between India and Pakistan. We hope the two countries can properly resolve the issue through negotiation and consultations,” Lu said.
Lu added, “We hope relevant media will report objectively and truly about the China-India relationship, and do more to improve friendly relations.”
The spokesperson said both countries should note that the bilateral relationship has maintained sound momentum.
In the past, China said the CPEC, which is part of its Silk Road initiative, is aimed at improving the people’s livelihoods and in no way affects the status of the Kashmir issue.
Both sides have established a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination along the LAC to discuss incursions by troops along the 3,488-km disputed frontier.
If the official reaction to the reported incursion was couched in diplomacy, the official media had a word of warning for India.
“The Indian media is irresponsibly creating an image of China as acting unreasonably and as full of threats. Instead of poisoning the public opinion field this way, the Indian media should ponder what will happen to bilateral ties if Chinese media depicts India in the same way,” state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial.
Preserving peace and tranquillity in the border region against all odds is of great significance to China, it added.
“But this should not be a ‘favor’ provided by India, because peace and stability along the border is also critical to New Delhi. Like China, India has placed economic development as the top priority in its national strategy. It can therefore not afford tensions in Kashmir and the Sino-Indian border at the same time.”
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