Referring to the Galwan Valley face-off between Indian and Chinese troops, US State Department on Tuesday (local time) said that the recent incident where troops of both sides “beat each other to death” is a result of the Chinese government’s sudden turn towards “gross aggression” in its entire periphery.
Addressing a press briefing on the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s visit to Tokyo, a State Department official compared the past conflicts between India and China with the current standoff saying the conflicts “in the Himalayas between China and India” has been “something that has been in the past handled according to unspoken or unwritten rules in the past to prevent these things from getting out of control”.
However, the official said, the driving force behind the current conflict is the sudden turn toward gross aggression by the Chinese Government in its entire periphery.
“The conflict in the Himalayas between China and India, something that has been in the past handled according to unspoken or unwritten rules in the past to prevent these things from getting out of control, and then you look at what happened here recently, where you’ve got actually people beating each other to death,” the official said.
“…If you look at the single thing that’s driving all this, it’s a sudden turn toward gross aggression by the Chinese government in its entire periphery. I mean, you take it all the way around the Indo-Pacific and its western borders; you’re seeing things that you haven’t seen before, and these are responding to that,” the official added.
The Chinese and Indian troops are engaged in a stand-off since early May along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
The situation along the LAC deteriorated in June following the Galwan Valley clash in which both sides suffered casualties.
Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives in the violent face-off on June 15-16. It happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese troops to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation in eastern Ladakh.
Speaking about Pompeo’s opening remarks at the Quad foreign ministers meeting, another State Department official said that the State Secretary has framed his discussion during the meeting with Foreign Ministers of India, Japan and Australia around the free world versus Chinese authoritarianism and there was a lot of agreement “around that table”.
“But we also have to frame the problem correctly. This isn’t about a U.S.-China dispute. This is about the free world versus Chinese authoritarianism. And the Secretary speaks frequently about that, and that’s the way he framed his discussions, and there was a lot of agreement around that table,” the officials remarked.
Pompeo has denounced China’s “exploitation, corruption, and coercion” as he participated in a meeting in Tokyo of the Quad grouping of nations – the United States, Japan, India, and Australia.
“As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption and coercion,” Pompeo had said.