US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Indians have done their best to respond to China’s “incredibly aggressive actions”, asserting that Beijing has a pattern of “instigating” territorial disputes and the world should not allow this bullying to take place.
“I have spoken with Foreign (External Affairs) Minister (S) Jaishankar a number of times about this (Chinese aggressive actions). The Chinese took incredibly aggressive actions. The Indians have done their best to respond to that,” Pompeo told reporters at a news conference.
Pompeo was responding to questions about the Chinese intrusion into Indian territories in eastern Ladakh.
The troops of India and China are locked in an eight-week standoff in several areas in eastern Ladakh including Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and Gogra Hot Spring. The situation deteriorated last month following the Galwan Valley clashes that left 20 Indian Army personnel dead as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the LAC.
The Chinese military on Monday began withdrawing troops from the Galwan Valley and Gogra Hot Spring after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held lengthy talks on Sunday. Doval and Wang are also the special representatives on the India-China boundary talks.
“I put this in the context of (Chinese) General Secretary Xi Jinping and his behaviour throughout the region and, indeed, throughout the world,” Pompeo said.
“I don’t think it’s possible to look at that particular instance of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) aggression in isolation. I think you need to put it in the larger context,” he said.
The CCP recently filed a boundary dispute with Bhutan at a meeting of the Global Environmental Facility.
“From the mountain ranges of the Himalayas to the waters of Vietnam’s exclusive zone to the islands and beyond Beijing has a pattern of instigating territorial disputes,” Pompeo said.
“The world should not allow this bullying to take place. Nor should it permit it to continue,” the top US diplomat asserted.
Reiterating that the CCP has engaged in both maritime and boundary disputes, he said there aren’t many neighbours that can satisfactorily say that they know where their sovereignty ends in that the Chinese Communist Party will respect that sovereignty. “That’s certainly true now for the people of Bhutan as well,” he said.
“This is what the world must come together to respond to, this increasing revisionist effort that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in. It’s something that President (Donald) Trump has taken incredibly seriously,” he said.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are vital to global trade.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area.