Beijing: Ignoring India's demand to revert to a status-quo in Depsang Valley, China on Wednesday firmly stuck to its stand that its troops have not violated the Line of Actual Control (LAC) "by a step" in the Ladakh region. "I want to reiterate here that the Chinese border troops have been acting in strict compliance with the bilateral agreements and conducting normal patrol on the Chinese side of the LAC. They have never crossed the line by a step", Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing.
Hua's assertion of not even a step of violation was highlighted by the state television, CCTV which along with the rest of the official media began covering the incident for the first time even since the Ladakh incursion came to light last week. She was replying to a question on yesterday's flag meeting between the militaries of the two countries in Ladakh region and subsequent assertion by India that status quo should be restored.
Hua's assertion, reiterating her remarks made on April 22, makes it clear that China is sticking to its stand that there is no violation and its troops may stay put in the area until it is resolved through the talks. Hua said both sides have opened the "communication channels" to discuss the issue though the consultation mechanisms on boundary issue.
But, at the same time she said both sides should stick to the consensus reached so far on LAC. "The two sides should abide by their consensus which is in the interest of both. The two sides should work together to properly resolve border issues with in the framework of existing mechanisms and create favourable conditions for the bilateral relations", she said.
This is the first time, after the controversy broke, that China has acknowledged that the issue is being discussed between the two countries. After the flag meeting yesterday, India asked China to revert to the status quo position in Depsang Valley in Ladakh where troops of both countries were in a face-to-face situation after Indian military alleged that Chinese forces intruded nearly 10 kms inside Indian territory.
Apart from the flag meetings between the local military commanders of the two countries, the issue has also been taken up by the officials of the Foreign Ministries under a working mechanism that was established to address problems faced by the two armies on the ground while patrolling the vast tracks of disputed boundary.
The incident has thrown out of gear a flurry of engagements at the top between the two countries before the planned visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to New Delhi next month. Li, who took over from Wen Jiabao last month, chose India to be his first trip abroad as Prime Minister to send a message of friendship as well as importance China attached to improve relations with New Delhi.
From India, Li plans to go to Pakistan, China's all weather ally. The new Pakistan government, which is expected to be formed after elections next month, is expected to be in place when his visit take place.