US will try to help In­dia, China, says Trump

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTSPOTLIGH­T - Yash­want Raj let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

WASH­ING­TON: Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has made yet an­other foray into the on­go­ing In­di­aChina con­flict, say­ing the Asian neigh­bours are deal­ing with a “big prob­lem” and the United States will try to “help them out”.

Though Trump did not re­peat his ear­lier of­fer of me­di­a­tion, which has been firmly turned down by both In­dia and China, he did say the United States is “talk­ing” to them.

The Pres­i­dent, in a short re­ply to a re­porter’s ques­tion be­fore de­part­ing the White House for his elec­tion rally in Tulsa, Ok­la­homa on Satur­day evening, said: “It’s a very tough sit­u­a­tion... We’re talk­ing to In­dia. We’re talk­ing to China.” He added: “They’ve got a big prob­lem there. They’ve come to blows, and we’ll see what hap­pens. We’ll try...help them out.”

On May 29, the US Pres­i­dent made an ex­plicit of­fer of me­di­a­tion and had gone on to claim that he had dis­cussed the sit­u­a­tion with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi. They had not till then, but did later in a June 2 call. Trump did not pur­sue his of­fer af­ter be­ing turned down.

Trump has been keen to in­ter­cede in that part of Asia one way or an­other for months now. He first of­fered to me­di­ate the In­di­a­Pak­istan ten­sions last sum­mer in the af­ter­math of the Pul­wama ter­ror­ist at­tack. Though the first of­fer, elicited from him by the vis­it­ing Pak­istani prime min­is­ter Im­ran Khan, was swiftly re­jected by New Delhi, the Pres­i­dent per­sisted even as the of­fers were firmly re­jected by In­dia.

In the In­dia-China con­flict, while Trump has not clearly picked sides, his sec­re­tary of state Michael Pom­peo has been ex­plicit on who is to blame. “The PLA has es­ca­lated border ten­sions – we see it to­day in In­dia, the world’s most pop­u­lar, pop­u­lous democ­racy,” Pom­peo said, re­fer­ring to the Chi­nese mil­i­tary in a vir­tual con­fer­ence of the Copen­hagen Democ­racy Sum­mit on Fri­day.

US law­mak­ers have also been clear about their view of the face­off that have been on for weeks. “I am ex­tremely con­cerned by the on­go­ing Chi­nese ag­gres­sion along the Line of Ac­tual Con­trol on the In­dia-China border,” Eliot En­gel, a Demo­crat who heads the pow­er­ful House for­eign affairs com­mit­tee, said in a state­ment ear­lier in the month.

Don­ald Trump

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