The Facts and China's Po­si­tion

People's Review - - OP-ED -

Con­cern­ing the In­dian Bor­der Troops’ Cross­ing of the China-In­dia Boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor into the Chi­nese Ter­ri­tory I

1. The Dong Lang area (Dok­lam) is lo­cated in Yadong­county of the Ti­bet Au­tonomous Re­gion of China. It bor­ders In­dia's Sikkim state on the west and the King­dom of Bhutan on the south. In 1890, China and the UK signed the Con­ven­tion Be­tween Great Bri­tain and China Re­lat­ing to Sikkim and Ti­bet which de­lim­ited the boundary be­tween the Ti­bet re­gion of China and Sikkim. Ac­cord­ing to the Con­ven­tion, the Dong Lang area, which is lo­cated on the Chi­nese side of the boundary, is in­dis­putably Chi­nese ter­ri­tory. For long, China's bor­der troops have been pa­trolling the area and Chi­nese herds­men graz­ing live­stock there. At present, the boundary be­tween the Dong Lang area and Sikkim is a part of the China-In­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor. 2. On 16 June 2017, the Chi­nese side was build­ing a road in the Dong Lang area. On 18 June, over 270 In­dian bor­der troops, car­ry­ing weapons and driv­ing two bull­doz­ers, crossed the boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor at the Duo Ka La (Doka La) pass and ad­vanced more than 100 me­ters into the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory to ob­struct the road build­ing of the Chi­nese side, caus­ing ten­sion in the area. In ad­di­tion to the two bull­doz­ers, the tres­pass­ing In­dian bor­der troops, reach­ing as many as over 400 peo­ple at one point, have put up three tents and ad­vanced over 180 me­ters into the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory. As of the end of July, there were still over 40 In­dian bor­der troops and one bull­dozer il­le­gally stay­ing in the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory. 3. After the out­break of the in­ci­dent, Chi­nese bor­der troops took con­tin­gency re­sponse mea­sures on the spot. On 19 June, the Chi­nese side made prompt and se­ri­ous rep­re­sen­ta­tions with the In­dian side through diplo­matic chan­nels to strongly protest and con­demn the il­le­gal tres­pass by the In­dian side and de­mand the im­me­di­ate with­drawal of the tres­pass­ing In­dian bor­der troops back to the In­dian side of the boundary. China's Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense and the Chi­nese Em­bassy in In­dia made se­ri­ous rep­re­sen­ta­tions with In­dia for mul­ti­ple times in Beijing and New Delhi, strongly urg­ing In­dia to re­spect China's ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty and im­me­di­ately pull back its tres­pass­ing bor­der troops. The spokesper­sons of the Chi­nese for­eign and de­fense min­istries spoke in pub­lic on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions, laid out the facts and truth, stated China's po­si­tion and re­leased a map and on-the-scene photos show­ing In­dian troops' tres­pass.

II

4. The China-In­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor has al­ready been de­lim­ited by the 1890 Con­ven­tion Be­tween Great Bri­tain and China Re­lat­ing to Sikkim and Ti­bet (here­inafter re­ferred to as the 1890 Con­ven­tion, see Ap­pen­dix II). Ar­ti­cle I of this Con­ven­tion stip­u­lates that “The boundary of Sikkim and Ti­bet shall be the crest of the moun­tain range sep­a­rat­ing the wa­ters flow­ing into the Sikkim Teesta and its af­flu­ents from the wa­ters flow­ing into the Ti­betan Mochu and north­wards into other Rivers of Ti­bet. The line com­mences at Mount Gip­mochi on the Bhutan fron­tier, and fol­lows the above-men­tioned wa­ter­part­ing to the point where it meets Ni­pal ter­ri­tory.” (Mount Gip­mochi is cur­rently known as Mount Ji Mu Ma Zhen.) The Con­ven­tion gives a clear and pre­cise de­scrip­tion of the align­ment of the boundary in this sec­tor. The ac­tual boundary on the ground fol­lows the wa­ter­shed and its align­ment is eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able. 5. After the found­ing of the Peo­ple's Repub­lic of China and the in­de­pen­dence of In­dia, the gov­ern­ments of both coun­tries in­her­ited the 1890 Con­ven­tion and the de­lim­ited China-In­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor as es­tab­lished by the Con­ven­tion. This is ev­i­denced by In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Jawa­har­lal Nehru's let­ters to Chi­nese Pre­mier Chou En-lai, diplo­matic notes from the In­dian Em­bassy in China to the Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry, and doc­u­ments pro­vided by the In­dian side in the Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Talks on Chi­naIn­dia Boundary Ques­tion (see Ap­pen­dix III). Each of the two sides has for long ex­er­cised ju­ris­dic­tion over its side of the boundary de­lim­ited by the 1890 Con­ven­tion with­out any dis­pute over the spe­cific align­ment of the boundary. Once a boundary is es­tab­lished by a con­ven­tion, it is un­der par­tic­u­lar pro­tec­tion of in­ter­na­tional law and shall not be vi­o­lated. 6. Since 18 June, the In­dian bor­der troops have il­le­gally crossed the Chi­naIn­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor and en­tered the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory. This is an un­de­ni­able fact. The in­ci­dent oc­curred in an area where there is a clear and de­lim­ited boundary. This makes it fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent from past fric­tions be­tween the bor­der troops of the two sides in ar­eas with un­de­lim­ited boundary. The In­dian bor­der troops' cross­ing of the al­ready de­lim­ited boundary is a very se­ri­ous in­ci­dent, as it vi­o­lates China's sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity, con­tra­venes the 1890 Con­ven­tion and the UN Char­ter, and tram­ples grossly on the ba­sic prin­ci­ples of in­ter­na­tional law and ba­sic norms gov­ern­ing in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions.

III

7. Since the in­ci­dent broke out, In­dia has in­vented var­i­ous ex­cuses to jus­tify its il­le­gal ac­tion, but its ar­gu­ments have no fac­tual or le­gal grounds at all and are sim­ply un­ten­able. 8. The China-In­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor has al­ready been de­lim­ited, and the Dong Lang area is Chi­nese ter­ri­tory. China's road build­ing on its own ter­ri­tory is aimed at im­prov­ing lo­cal trans­porta­tion, which is com­pletely law­ful and le­git­i­mate. China did not cross the boundary in its road build­ing, and it no­ti­fied In­dia in ad­vance in full re­flec­tion of China's good­will. The In­dian bor­der troops have fla­grantly crossed the mu­tu­al­lyrec­og­nized boundary to in­trude into the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory and vi­o­lated China's ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty. This is in­deed a real at­tempt to change the sta­tus quo of the boundary, and it has gravely un­der­mined peace and tran­quil­ity of the China-In­dia bor­der area. 9. In­dia has cited “se­ri­ous se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions” of China's road build­ing as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for its il­le­gal cross­ing of the boundary. Ac­cord­ing to UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly Res­o­lu­tion 3314 adopted on 14 De­cem­ber 1974, no con­sid­er­a­tion of what­so­ever na­ture, whether po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, mil­i­tary or oth­er­wise, may serve as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the in­va­sion or at­tack by the armed forces of a State of the ter­ri­tory of an­other State. To cross a de­lim­ited boundary and en­ter the ter­ri­tory of a neigh­bor­ing coun­try on the grounds of so-called “se­cu­rity concerns”, for what­ever ac­tiv­i­ties, runs counter to the ba­sic prin­ci­ples of in­ter­na­tional law and ba­sic norms gov­ern­ing in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions. No such at­tempt will be tol­er­ated by any sov­er­eign State, still less should it be the nor­mal way of con­duct be­tween China and In­dia as two neigh­bor­ing States. 10. Over the years, In­dian troops have con­structed a large num­ber of in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing roads at the Duo Ka La pass and its nearby ar­eas on the In­dian side of the boundary, and even built for­ti­fi­ca­tions and other mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tions on the boundary. China, on the con­trary, has only had very lit­tle in­fra­struc­ture built on its side of the boundary in the same sec­tor. In re­cent years, In­dian bor­der troops have also ob­structed the nor­mal pa­trols along the boundary by Chi­nese bor­der troops, and at­tempted to build mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tions across the boundary. In re­sponse, Chi­nese bor­der troops lodged re­peated protests and took law­ful ac­tions to dis­man­tle the fa­cil­i­ties in­stalled by the In­dian mil­i­tary on the Chi­nese side of the boundary. The fact of the mat­ter is it is In­dia that has at­tempted time and again to change the sta­tus quo of the China-In­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor, which poses a grave se­cu­rity threat to China. 11. The 1890 Con­ven­tion has made it abun­dantly clear that the Chi­naIn­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor

com­mences at Mount Ji Mu Ma Zhen on the Bhutan fron­tier. Mount Ji Mu Ma Zhen is the east­ern start­ing point of the China-In­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor and it is also the boundary tri-junction be­tween China, In­dia and Bhutan. The In­dian bor­der troops' tres­pass oc­curred at a place on the China-In­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor, which is more than 2,000 me­ters away from Mount Ji Mu Ma Zhen. Mat­ters con­cern­ing the boundary tri-junction have noth­ing to do with this in­ci­dent. In­dia should re­spect the 1890 Con­ven­tion and the east­ern start­ing point of the China-In­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor as es­tab­lished by the Con­ven­tion. It has no right to uni­lat­er­ally al­ter the de­lim­ited boundary and its east­ern start­ing point, still less should it vi­o­late China's ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty on the ba­sis of its un­ten­able ar­gu­ments. 12. The sta­bil­ity and in­vi­o­la­bil­ity of bound­aries is a fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple en­shrined in in­ter­na­tional law. The China-In­dia boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor as de­lim­ited by the 1890 Con­ven­tion has been con­tin­u­ously valid and re­peat­edly reaf­firmed by both the Chi­nese and In­dian sides. Ei­ther side shall strictly abide by the boundary which shall not be vi­o­lated. The Chi­nese and In­dian sides have been in dis­cus­sion on mak­ing the boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor an “early harvest” in the set­tle­ment of the en­tire boundary ques­tion dur­ing the meet­ings be­tween the Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on the Chi­naIn­dia Boundary Ques­tion. This is mainly in view of the fol­low­ing con­sid­er­a­tions. The boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor has long been de­lim­ited by the 1890 Con­ven­tion, which was signed be­tween then China and Great Bri­tain. China and In­dia ought to sign a new boundary con­ven­tion in their own names to re­place the 1890 Con­ven­tion. This, how­ever, in no way al­ters the na­ture of the boundary in the Sikkim Sec­tor as hav­ing al­ready been de­lim­ited. 13. The Dong Lang area has all along been part of China and un­der China's con­tin­u­ous and ef­fec­tive ju­ris­dic­tion. There is no dis­pute in this re­gard. Since the 1980s, China and Bhutan, as two in­de­pen­dent sov­er­eign States, have been en­gaged in ne­go­ti­a­tions and con­sul­ta­tions to re­solve their boundary is­sue. The two sides have, so far, had 24 rounds of talks and reached broad con­sen­sus. Although the boundary is yet to be for­mally de­lim­ited, the two sides have con­ducted joint sur­veys in their bor­der area and have ba­sic con­sen­sus on the ac­tual state of the bor­der area and the align­ment of their boundary. The China-Bhutan boundary is­sue is one be­tween China and Bhutan. It has noth­ing to do with In­dia. As a third party, In­dia has no right to in­ter­fere in or im­pede the boundary talks be­tween China and Bhutan, still less the right to make ter­ri­to­rial claims on Bhutan's be­half. In­dia's in­tru­sion into the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory un­der the pre­text of Bhutan has not only vi­o­lated China's ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty but also chal­lenged Bhutan's sovereignty and in­de­pen­dence. China and Bhutan are friendly neigh­bors. China has all along re­spected Bhutan's sovereignty and in­de­pen­dence. Thanks to the joint ef­forts of both sides, the bor­der area be­tween China and Bhutan has al­ways en­joyed peace and tran­quil­ity. China will con­tinue to work with Bhutan to re­solve the boundary is­sue be­tween the two coun­tries through ne­go­ti­a­tions and con­sul­ta­tions in the ab­sence of ex­ter­nal in­ter­fer­ence.

IV

14. Since the in­ci­dent oc­curred, China has shown ut­most good­will and great re­straint and sought to com­mu­ni­cate with In­dia through diplo­matic chan­nels to re­solve the in­ci­dent. But no coun­try should ever un­der­es­ti­mate the re­solve of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and peo­ple to de­fend China's ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty. China will take all nec­es­sary mea­sures to safe­guard its le­git­i­mate and law­ful rights and in­ter­ests. The in­ci­dent took place on the Chi­nese side of the de­lim­ited boundary. In­dia should im­me­di­ately and un­con­di­tion­ally with­draw its tres­pass­ing bor­der troops back to the In­dian side of the boundary. This is a pre­req­ui­site and ba­sis for re­solv­ing the in­ci­dent. 15. China and In­dia are the world's largest de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment al­ways val­ues the growth of good-neigh­borly and friendly re­la­tions with In­dia and is com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing peace and tran­quil­ity in the bor­der area be­tween the two coun­tries. The Chi­nese side urges the In­dian gov­ern­ment to keep in mind the larger in­ter­est of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and the well-be­ing of the two peo­ples, abide by the 1890 Con­ven­tion and the de­lim­ited China-In­dia boundary es­tab­lished therein, re­spect China's ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty, ob­serve the Five Prin­ci­ples of Peace­ful Coex­is­tence and other ba­sic prin­ci­ples of in­ter­na­tional law and ba­sic norms gov­ern­ing in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, im­me­di­ately with­draw its tres­pass­ing bor­der troops back to the In­dian side of the boundary and con­duct a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the il­le­gal tres­pass so as to swiftly and ap­pro­pri­ately re­solve the in­ci­dent and re­store peace and tran­quil­ity to the bor­der area be­tween the two coun­tries. This would serve the fun­da­men­tal in­ter­ests of both coun­tries and go along with the shared ex­pec­ta­tions of coun­tries in the re­gion and the wider in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

(Cour­tesy,Chi­ne­seEm­bassy,Kath­mandu)

Sketch Map of the Site of the In­dian Troops' Tres­pass

On-the-Scene Photo II Show­ing the In­dian Troops' Tres­pass

On-the-Scene Photo I Show­ing the In­dian Troops' Tres­pass

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