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China tells India to ‘stay calm’ in border map row

China has told India to "stay calm" over a new Chinese map that Delhi says lays claim to its territory.

August 31, 2023 1:01 pm

Indian soldiers (shown here in Ladakh in 2021) come face to face with Chinese troops at many points along the poorly demarcated border
Indian soldiers (shown here in Ladakh in 2021) come face to face with Chinese troops at many points along the poorly demarcated border.

India protested after Beijing released the map showing north-eastern Arunachal Pradesh state and the disputed Aksai Chin plateau as China’s territory.

Beijing responded by saying its neighbours should refrain from “over-interpreting” the issue.

Meanwhile, media reports say Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to skip next week’s G20 leaders talks in Delhi.

Unconfirmed reports suggest Premier Li Quang will attend instead. Mr Xi had earlier confirmed he would travel to Delhi for the meeting from 9-10 September – but China’s foreign ministry would not confirm his attendance when asked to do so at a regular press briefing on Thursday.

Unidentified sources told Reuters news agency that he cancelled his plan over the map controversy. The BBC could not independently verify the claim.

India is not the only country to object to the map – on Thursday, the Philippines and Malaysia issued protests against China’s claim of ownership over most of the South China Sea in the map. Taiwan – which China says is a breakaway province that will eventually be under Beijing’s control – also objected to its inclusion in the map.

A politician from Nepal also cancelled a visit to China, saying the new map did not take into account the country’s revised map, which has already sparked tensions with India.

The escalation over the 2023 edition of China’s standard national map comes just days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr Xi spoke on the sidelines of the Brics summit in South Africa.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar called China’s claim “absurd”. An Indian official said afterwards that the two countries had agreed to “intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and de-escalation” along the disputed border.

On Thursday China indicated it wasn’t budging on the map – the disputed border is an issue which has bedevilled relations for years.

“It is a routine practice in China’s exercise of sovereignty in accordance with the law,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.

“We hope relevant sides can stay objective and calm, and refrain from over-interpreting the issue.”

India has often reacted angrily to China’s attempts to stake claim to its territory.

The source of the tension between the neighbours is a disputed 3,440km (2,100 mile)-long de facto border along the Himalayas – called the Line of Actual Control, or LAC – which is poorly demarcated and soldiers on either side come face to face at many points.

China says it considers the whole of Arunachal Pradesh its territory, calling it “South Tibet” – a claim India firmly rejects. India claims the Aksai Chin plateau in the Himalayas, which is controlled by China.

Relations between India and China have worsened since 2020, when their troops were involved in a deadly clash at the Galwan valley in Ladakh – it was the first fatal confrontation between the two sides since 1975.

Sours: BBC

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