China on Monday said its troops were committed to maintaining peace along the disputed border with India hours after reports in Indian media said soldiers from both sides had clashed near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Naku La area of Sikkim.
Several Chinese and Indian soldiers were reportedly injured in a clash last week after the Indian troops stopped a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) patrol team from entering Indian territory at Naku La in Sikkim.
The physical brawl between border troops took place ahead of the ninth round of military talks, held on Sunday on the disengagement of Indian and Chinese soldiers from friction points along the LAC.
The Chinese foreign ministry declined to confirm or deny the latest clash between the border troops during the regular ministry briefing on Monday.
“On the specific (incident) you mentioned, I don’t have any information to offer. I would like to stress though the Chinese border troops are committed to upholding peace and tranquility along the border with India,” Zhao Lijian, ministry spokesperson, said.
“We urge the Indian side to work in the same direction with us and refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border. We hope both will take proper actions to manage the differences and take concrete actions to safeguard the peace and stability along the border,” he added.
Zhao said information on the latest round of talks will be released later.
“I can confirm that a new round of talks has been held. The two sides upon agreement will release information in due course,” he said.
A joint statement issued after the eighth round of military talks held at Chushul on November 6 had said both sides would continue dialogue on the disengagement,
“The two sides had a candid, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of China-India border areas,” the statement said.
“Both sides agreed to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, ensure their frontline troops to exercise restraint and avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation.”
“Both sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and, taking forward the discussions at this meeting, push for the settlement of other outstanding issues, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas. They also agreed to have another round of meeting soon,” the statement added.
Diplomatic talks have also failed to resolve the ongoing border friction between the two neighbours.
Separate statements issued by the two sides after a virtual meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs on December 18 had given no indication of forward movement in the disengagement and de-escalation process at friction points in the western sector of the LAC.
Both sides said they would maintain consultations through diplomatic and military channels, and the Indian side said the disengagement should be in line with existing bilateral agreements and protocols.