LAC: Beijing initiated disengagement at LAC ahead of meet with USA in Hawaii


NEW DELHI: US President Donald Trump is aware of the clash between the Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Laddakh, the White House said on Wednesday, but stressed that there are no formal plans to mediate between the two countries amid reports that Beijing disengaged before last Wednesday’s talks between senior leaders from the US and China.

“The president is aware of it. We’re monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters when asked about the border clash.

“We have seen the Indian Army statement that 20 Indian soldiers died as a result of the confrontation today, and we extend our deepest condolences on that,” she added.

“No formal plans on that beyond what I already said in expressing our absolute condolences to the Indian soldiers that died as a result of today’s confrontation. We extend our deepest condolences there,” she said, adding, “I would note just that during the phone call on June 2 of this year that President Trump had with Prime Minister Modi, they did discuss the situation on the India-China border.”

During the last week of May, the US President had created a flutter when he offered to mediate and subsequently remarked that he had spoken to the PM on the LAC situation. This was rebuffed by India and subsequently Trump dialled the PM on June 2.

James Jay Carafano, vice-president of foreign and defense policy studies, at the pro-Republican US think-tank ‘The Heritage Foundation’ suggested that Washington should support its friends, including India, against China. ET has learnt that China wanted to disengage along LAC ahead of the meet between the US Secretary of State and senior Chinese functionary Yang Jiechi in Hawaii
on June 17 as Beijing was unsure of the US response to the June 15 incident.

Another close partner of India and neighbour of China, Japan stated on Thursday that it is closely monitoring the situation as it might impact regional stability. “The government of Japan hopes that this situation will be resolved peacefully through dialogue between the concerned parties,” Ohtaka Masato, Japanese MFA spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the Chinese side continued to issue strong statements on the LAC standoff and Monday’s clash at the Galwan Valley. China has said that India must not underestimate its firm will to safeguard its territorial sovereignty. The comments were made by Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Twitter.

“India must not misjudge the current situation or underestimate China’s firm will to safeguard its territorial sovereignty,” Hua said in her first tweet.

“Indian front-line troops broke the consensus and crossed the Line of Actual Control, deliberately provoking and attacking Chinese officers and soldiers, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties,” she said in a follow-up tweet.

Amid the continuing stand-off, the EU, for the second day in succession, called for restraint. “In light of the recent worrying developments along the Line of Actual Control between India and China, the European Union encourages both sides to show restraint and to engage in military de-escalation. We express our deep regrets for the casualties incurred and offer our condolences to their loved ones,” according to EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell.

“India and China are two very important partners of the European Union, and are crucial actors for regional and global stability. We trust that both the Indian and Chinese authorities will look to continue their dialogue to find peaceful solutions to their differences. This is crucial for building trust and preserving peace and stability in the region.”

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