China on Thursday said the atmosphere was “not right” for a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit that begins in Germany on Friday, with the foreign ministry contending that the military standoff near Sikkim had “damaged” the political foundation of bilateral relations.
Modi and Xi are scheduled to participate in a meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) leaders to be held on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg during July 7-8.
With the standoff over the construction of a road in Donglang or Doklam area by Chinese troops now in its third week, Chinese officials said the “atmosphere is not right” for a meeting between Modi and Xi on the margins of the G20 meet.
Indian officials pointed out that there was no planned bilateral meeting between Modi and Xi, adding the two countries were likely to allow their armies to resolve the standoff.
China has insisted that the face-off can be resolved only if India pulls back its troops to the Indian side of the boundary. India has said its troops acted in coordination with the Bhutan government to stop the road construction in Donglang, which is under Beijing’s control but claimed by Thimphu.
Earlier, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the standoff had harmed ties between the two sides. China hoped “India can immediately withdraw the border troops to the Indian side of the boundary to uphold the peace and tranquillity of the China and India border areas”, he added.
“I think this is the pre-condition for any meaningful peace talks between the two sides,” Geng told a regular news briefing when he was asked about a possible meeting between Modi and Xi in Hamburg.
“As for the arrangement of the bilateral meeting (in Hamburg) between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi, I have to point out that recently Indian troops trespassed into China and obstructed normal activities of Chinese troops in the Doklam region,” he said.
“This endangers China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and damaged the political foundations of bilateral relations between China and India.”
China’s state-run media has quoted Chinese analysts as saying that Beijing would be forced to resort to a “military way” to end the standoff if India refuses to listen to “historical lessons” – an apparent reference to the 1962 border war in which India was defeated.