China accuses India of violating 1890 agreement in border standoff
Iran Press TV
Mon Jul 3, 2017 2:40PM
Beijing has accused New Delhi of violating an 1890 border agreement between Britain and China as a standoff on a plateau next to the mountainous Indian state of Sikkim, which borders China, has intensified tensions between the two neighboring countries.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing on Monday that the Sikkim part of the border had been settled in the 1890 accord and that previous Indian governments had many times affirmed that in writing.
"Pacts must be respected - this is a basic principle of international law," media outlets quoted Geng as saying.
The spokesman added that the deal should be respected to end a "very serious" incursion by India.
The Indian troops' crossing onto the Chinese side was a violation of the agreement and the United Nations charter, the spokesman noted.
Geng also reiterated a demand for India to withdraw its troops to its side.
The developments come after China accused Indian guards of crossing into its Donglang region early in June and obstructed work on a road on a plateau.
Troops from the two sides then confronted each other close to a strategic valley controlled by China, which separates India from Bhutan and gives China access to the so-called Chicken's Neck, a thin strip of land that connects India to its remote northeastern regions.
Indian media have reported that the dispute began when China removed an old Indian bunker.
Bhutan said on Thursday that the road was being built inside its territory.
Senior authorities in Beijing have said that the road work was going on in an area that was on the Chinese not Bhutanese side.
China and Bhutan have yet to reach a final agreement on demarking their border.
India's Ministry of External Affairs warned China on Friday that construction of a road near their common border would have serious security implications.
Small incursions and troop standoffs are common along other parts of China and India's contested 3,500-kilometer frontier, but a flare-up near strategically positioned Sikkim is rare.
The developments come as India has deepened its military ties with the United States in recent years, worrying China, which is also unhappy with India's refusal to participate in Beijing's multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. India is concerned the project could cement China's influence over Asia.
China says that unlike other parts of their shared border, the delineation of the frontier with Sikkim is settled, and it has the right to develop the area.
Ties between India and China have been strained over border disputes.
China and India, now nuclear-armed, fought a brief but bloody war in 1962 over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas, and are still embroiled in a bitter dispute over the territory.
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