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US hopes for peaceful resolution of India-China tension: Pompeo

New York: While accusing Beijing of bullying its neighbors, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Washington hopes there would be a peaceful settlement of the escalating tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China.

“We are hoping for a peaceful resolution of the situation on the India-China border,” he said at a news conference in Washington.

“From the Taiwan Strait to the Himalayas and beyond, the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in a clear and intensifying pattern of bullying its neighbors,” he said.

In the latest confrontation, New Delhi has said that China carried out “provocative military movements” on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake between Sunday and Monday but Indian troops stopped them from moving into its territory.

This followed clashes between the troops of the two countries in June in which 20 Indian soldiers and some Chinese troops were killed.

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, David Stillwell, who spoke to reporters after Pompeo, attributed China’s intensifying aggressiveness from the Himalayas to Taiwan to Beijing’s attempts to take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“What we’ve seen since the corona outbreak from Wuhan is it seems the PRC (People’s Republic of China) is trying to take advantage of the situation, and India, I think, is one of those examples of that,” he said.

He declined to say how the US would help India if the tensions worsened, indicative of Washington’s limitations in stepping into the conflict.

Pompeo said that he would be holding virtual meetings next week with his Indo-Pacific and ASEAN counterparts.

Pompeo also asked China to hold talks with the Dalai Lama and criticized Beijing’s actions in Tibet.

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