The US today said border disputes with China — be it in Ladakh or in the South China Sea — are a “reminder of the threat by China”. The strong statement by Alice Wells, Outgoing Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, came days after several instances of Chinese incursion by land and air, one of which led to a face-off between Indian and Chinese troops.
The “provocations and disturbing behaviour by China that poses questions about how China seeks to use its growing power”, the US said.
“That’s why you’ve seen a rallying of like-minded nations whether it is in ASEAN or through other diplomatic groupings like the trilateral with the US, Japan and India, or the Quad — conversations globally about how we can reinforce the principles of the post-World War II global order that supported free and open trade, that raised all boats including the Chinese boat,” added Alice Wells.
Over the last weeks, reinforcement of troops across the border was conducted after reports of China pitching tents near river Galwan — a 1962 flashpoint that has seen aggression in recent days — and increasing construction activities.
Earlier this month, Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a face off on the banks of the high-altitude Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh and also in North Sikkim. Several Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in the incident in Ladakh.
Around the time, Chinese helicopters were also seen operating in the disputed region in eastern Ladakh.
The Air Force deployed Sukhoi-30 fighters at the time of the stand-off.
In South China Sea, Beijing is completion with Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei over the ocean areas and two island chains — the Paracels and the Spratlys, believed to rich in mineral resources.
Over the last years, Washington and Beijing have been on a collision course, first over trade and currently over the coronavirus outbreak. US President Donald Trump has blamed China for the outbreak and suggested that he could even cut ties with the world’s second largest economy.
Accusing the World Health Organisation of siding with China, he has also threatened to permanently freeze the funding of the world body.