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28 Jun 2017

Withdraw troops in Sikkim sector: China

TT, PTI, Beijing, June 27 : China today accused Indian troops of "crossing the boundary" in the Sikkim sector and demanded their immediate withdrawal, asserting that it has disallowed entry to the Nathu-la to Indian pilgrims travelling to Kailash and Mansarovar because of the border standoff.
China also said it had lodged diplomatic protests with India, both in New Delhi and in Beijing, for alleged trespass by Indian troops into territory China claims as its own in the Sikkim sector.
"We have lodged solemn representations in Beijing and New Delhi to elaborate on our solemn position," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told the media in Beijing.
"Our position to uphold our territorial sovereignty is unwavering. We hope the Indian side can work with China in the same direction and immediately withdraw the personnel who have overstepped and trespassed into the Chinese border," he added.
On Kailash and Mansarovar-bound Indian pilgrims who had to return to Gangtok after being denied permission by China to enter Tibet, Lu said their visit was called off because of security reasons.
He linked future visits of Indian pilgrims to the "withdrawal" of Indian troops from the area. "As to Indian pilgrims' journey through the Nathu-la in the Sikkim section, I think the Indian side is very clear about this. For a long time, the Chinese government has made enormous efforts to provide the necessary convenience to the Indian pilgrims," Lu said.
"But recently, Indian border personnel trespassed (into) the Chinese border to obstruct our (road) construction. We have taken necessary actions. Because of security considerations, we have to put off the pilgrimage by the Indian pilgrims through the Chinese pass," he added.
"On the upcoming actions, we have to depend on what the Indian side will do. They have to take action to improve the security situation," Lu said.
Another Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, had said last night that his country was urging India "to immediately withdraw its border guards who have crossed the boundary". China had demanded a thorough investigation.
"The Indian border guards crossed the boundary in the Sikkim section of the China-India border and entered the territory of China and obstructed normal activities of Chinese frontier forces in the Donglang area recently. The Chinese side has taken counter-measures," he said in a statement.
The Chinese defence ministry has accused the Indian troops of objecting to the construction of a road in what it claims to be Chinese territory.

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