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Some US officials trying to add fuel to fire: China on US gen’s Ladakh remark

China on Thursday termed the critical remarks by a top US general on its infrastructure build-up at the Sino-India border as a ‘despicable act’ and criticised the attempts of some American officials to “add fuel to fire”, emphasising that Beijing and New Delhi have the “will and capability” to properly resolve their differences through talks.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the remarks during a media briefing in Beijing while replying to a question on the comments by US Army’s Pacific commanding general Charles A Flynn, who termed the situation in eastern Ladakh as “alarming.”

“This border issue is between China and India (and) the two sides have the will and capability to properly resolve the issue through talks,” Zhao said.

Zhao said “some US officials are trying to add fuel to the fire and pointing fingers. This is a despicable act. We hope they will do more to contribute to regional peace and stability.”

He reiterated that the situation at eastern Ladakh where the two sides had over two year-long military standoff is “stabilising”.

“Now the situation there is stabilising on the whole and the frontline forces from both countries have realised disengagement in most areas along the western section,” Zhao said.

Gen Flynn, who is on a visit to India, said on Wednesday that some of the defence infrastructure that is being created by China near its border with India in Ladakh is “alarming”, calling the Chinese activity in that region as “eye-opening”.

Flagging concerns over the Chinese infra build-up, the US general also said that the “destabilising and corrosive” behaviour of the Chinese Communist Party in the Indo-Pacific region is simply not helpful.

“I think it is worthy of us working together as a counterweight to some of those corrosive and corruptive behaviours that the Chinese do,” he told reporters.

The Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a tense border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 5, 2020, when a violent clash between the two sides erupted in the Pangong lake area.

Last month, it emerged that China is constructing a second bridge in an area held by it around the strategically key Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh and this could help its military to quickly mobilise its troops in the region.

China has also been establishing other infrastructure such as roads and residential units in the border areas with India.

India and China have held 15 rounds of military talks so far to resolve the Ladakh standoff.

As a result of the talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.

However, each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control in the sensitive sector.

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