Editor's Note: Indian troops have remained illegally stationed in China's Donglang area for almost two months now after trespassing into Chinese territory. With India inventing various excuses to justify its troops' provocative behavior, these are the facts, as explained in the following article by the Xinhua News Agency:
On June 18, Indian border troops crossed the China-India boundary in the Sikkim Sector at the Duo Ka La (Doka La) Pass and advanced more than 100 meters into Chinese territory.
The illegal crossing of a delimited boundary and entering the territory of a neighboring country violates China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, international law and basic norms governing international relations.
India has invented various excuses to justify its illegal actions, but these are the facts:
On June 16, the Chinese side was building a road in the Donglang area (also known as Doklam) in Yadong county of Xizang Autonomous Region of China. On June 18, over 270 Indian border troops, carrying weapons and driving two bulldozers, crossed the boundary in the Sikkim Sector and advanced more than 100 meters into Chinese territory to obstruct road building on the Chinese side, causing tension.
The trespassing Indian troops, whose numbers reached 400 at one point, put up three tents and advanced over 180 meters into Chinese territory. As of the end of July, there were still over 40 Indian troops remaining illegally in Chinese territory.
Does the Donglang area belong to China?
Yes. The main focus of the dispute is the Donglang area.
In 1890, China and Britain signed the Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet. Article I of the Convention stipulates: "The boundary of Sikkim and Tibet shall be the crest of the mountain range separating the waters flowing into the Sikkim Teesta and its affluents from the waters flowing into the Tibetan Mochu and northwards into other rivers of Tibet. The line commences at Mount Gipmochi (currently known as Mount Ji Mu Ma Zhen) on the Bhutan frontier, and follows the above-mentioned water-parting to the point where it meets Nipal territory."
The Convention also says the Donglang area, located on the Chinese side of the China-India boundary, is indisputably Chinese territory.
The stability and inviolability of boundaries is a fundamental principle enshrined in international law. The China-India boundary in the Sikkim Sector, as delimited by the 1890 Convention, has been continuously valid and repeatedly reaffirmed by both the Chinese and Indian sides. Both sides shall strictly abide by the boundary, which shall not be violated.
Is Bhutan involved in the incident?
The 1890 Convention has made it clear that the China-India boundary in the Sikkim Sector commences at Mount Ji Mu Ma Zhen on the Bhutan frontier. Mount Ji Mu Ma Zhen is the eastern starting point of the China-India boundary in the Sikkim Sector and also the boundary tri-junction between China, India and Bhutan.
The Indian troops' trespassing occurred on the China-India boundary in the Sikkim Sector, more than 2,000 meters away from Mount Ji Mu Ma Zhen. Matters concerning the boundary tri-junction have nothing to do with this incident.
China and Bhutan have been engaged in negotiations and consultations to resolve their boundary issue since the 1980s. Although the boundary is yet to be formally delimited, the two sides have had 24 rounds of talks, conducted joint surveys in their border area and reached basic consensus on the actual state of the border area and the alignment of their boundary.
What are the consequences of India's illegally crossing the China-India border?
According to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution 3314 adopted on December 14, 1974, no consideration of whatsoever nature, whether political, economic, military or otherwise, may serve as a justification for the invasion or attack by the armed forces of a state of the territory of another state.
To cross a delimited boundary and enter the territory of a neighboring country on the grounds of so-called "security concerns," for whatever activities, runs counter to the basic principles of international law and basic norms governing international relations.
As a third party, India has no right to interfere in or impede the boundary talks between China and Bhutan, nor does it have the right to make territorial claims on Bhutan's behalf. India's intrusion into Chinese territory under the pretext of assisting Bhutan has not only violated China's territorial sovereignty, but also challenged Bhutan's sovereignty and independence.
The Chinese Government urges the Indian Government to immediately withdraw its trespassing border troops back to the Indian side of the boundary and conduct a thorough investigation into the illegal trespassing to swiftly and appropriately resolve the incident and restore peace and tranquility in the border area between the two countries.
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar
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