Tuesday 20 October 2020

India, China discuss foreign ministers’ agenda to ease border face-off

Senior diplomats from the two countries are meeting via video link under the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs

Diplomats from India and China are currently holding talks to implement the five-point consensus reached earlier this month by the foreign ministers of the two countries to resolve border tensions, the Chinese foreign ministry said on 30 September.

Senior diplomats from the two countries are meeting via video link under the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs.

The last time the WMCC met was on 10 August. The two countries were unable to bridge the differences on the disengagement of the two militaries at the meeting.

“Currently, China and India are holding the 19th meeting of the WMCC on border affairs. The main topics (being) discussed are how to implement the five-point consensus reached in Moscow (on 10 September) by the two foreign ministers to resolve outstanding issues on the ground and to ease the situation along the border,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin.

Wang was responding to a question on the WMCC meeting asked by Chinese state media.

The WMCC meeting is being co-chaired by joint secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava of the external affairs ministry and Hong Liang, director general of the boundary and oceanic department of China’s foreign ministry.

This was the body’s sixth virtual meeting since the standoff along the disputed border emerged in the open in May.

In his response at a regular ministry press conference on 30 September, Wang referred to the meeting between external affairs minister, S Jaishankar and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow on 10 September.

The two sides had reached an agreement on five points during talks between Jaishankar and Wang, comprising dialogue aimed at quick disengagement, maintaining proper distance between troops of the two sides and easing tensions, abiding by all agreements and protocols on border management, and working on new confidence-building measures once the situation eases.

Sharp differences between New Delhi and Beijing have become public this week with India dismissing China’s claims that it abides by a 1959 Chinese definition of the Line of Actual Control, the notional alignment dividing the two countries.

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