16:39 GMT +321 September 2019
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    This file photo taken on July 10, 2008 shows a Chinese soldier (L) next to an Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India's northeastern Sikkim state

    China Refutes Media Speculations of Small Scale War With India

    © AFP 2019 / DIPTENDU DUTTA
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    In what is being seen as an attempt to break the ice, the Chinese defense ministry invited a delegation of Indian journalists to Beijing and briefed them about their official position on the Doklam standoff.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Spokesperson of China’s Defense Ministry, Col. Ren Guoqiang has made it clear that the Peoples’ Liberation Army is not planning a ‘small scale military action’ to weed out Indian troops from the disputed Doklam area near Sikkim in India, as suggested by a section of the Chinese media.

    He was responding to queries by Indian journalists about recent articles published by the state-run Global Times quoting an expert Hu Zhiyong — research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

    "This kind of reports represents the view of the media and think-tanks. For official information please refer to the statements of foreign ministry and defense ministry spokespersons," Col. Ren Guoqiang, spokesman, China’s Defense Ministry said.

    The Chinese defense ministry spokesman, however, echoed what other Chinese leaders and officials have been saying that Indian troops must withdraw from the disputed spot in Doklam. He reiterated that India should not underestimate Beijing’s resolve to defend its territory.

    "We have all the legitimate rights to construct the road in Chinese territory," he said.

    Ren claimed that China had informed India in advance about the road building activity in mid-May, although no evidence in this regard was presented to visiting Indian journalists. He was countered “Why did China feel the need to inform India if it regarded the area as Chinese territory?” to which he responded that it was done out of goodwill.

    Meanwhile, Indian experts say that the Doklam standoff is a signal that both India and China should revive official channels to negotiate their long-standing border dispute and a good starting point would be to adhere to the spirit of 2012 agreement.

    "We have a mechanism under the 2012 agreement for handling such disputes and both sides should work under its spirit. What we see in Global Times and other English media publications from China should not be construed as the opinion of the Chinese government. China also knows that India is having an advantage in the Doklam region. They may have an advantage in the other sectors, but not in the Doklam region,” Dr Swaran Singh, Professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Sputnik.

    China and India have been locked in a standoff in the Doklam area – a tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan, since mid-June this year after Indian troops stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in the area.

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    war, standoff, Doklam, India, China
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