China warns Britain to stay out of Indian border row amid soaring tensions

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The fresh diplomatic row erupted when the British High Commissioner to India Sir Philip Barton questioned China’s behaviour around the world and highlighted issues such a Hong Kong, aggression in the South China Sea and recent bloody clashes with Indian troops in the western Himalayas.

We have wisdom and capability to properly handle differences. No need for third party interference

Sun Weidong

Sir Philip said Beijing’s foreign policies posed a challenge to the global community and vowed to work with allies to call out any violations of international law.

China was quick to respond with its ambassador to India Sun Weidong condemning Sir Philip’s comments on the India-China border stand-off and insisting it was a bilateral matter that required no “third party interference”.

Mr Sun tweeted: “Noted remarks regarding China by British High Commissioner to India, rife with mistakes and false allegations.

“Boundary question falls within bilateral scope between China and India.

“We have wisdom and capability to properly handle differences. No need for third party interference.”

The ambassador posted a second tweet in which he accused foreign powers of meddling in China’s affairs.

He said: “The real challenges in the South China Sea come from powers outside the region stirring up territorial and maritime disputes and undermining regional peace and stability.

“On Hong Kong affairs, China’s HK allows no foreign interference.”

Sir Philip had made it clear the UK had no interest in becoming involved in the India-China row over the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – a de facto border in the mountainous Ladakh region – which he acknowledged was a bilateral matter.

Violent clashes in June led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and sparked fears of an all-out war between the nuclear armed neighbours.

Sir Philip said: “From the UK perspective, obviously we’re not part of that nor do we want to be.”

But he was critical of China’s actions in Hong Kong and the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

He said: “There are challenges around the world on all sorts of Chinese actions, for us Hong Kong particularly is a focus, clearly for India the LAC is a particular focus.

“These are concerning things and our hope would be that there can be de-escalation, and tensions do seem to have eased over the last week or two after the tragic loss of lives.”

Sir Philip said a range of Chinese actions were giving cause for concern in London.

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He said: “We don’t have a border with China but we have particular responsibilities for Hong Kong and the new national security law which China has imposed there.

“We see this as a very clear and serious violation of the UK-China joint declaration.

“We are very clear sighted about the challenges China presents in the region and around the world.

“We in the UK want to work with China and hope for positive, constructive engagement and strive for that.

“We welcome all partners who join us in calling out what is a serious violation of the UK-China joint declaration.”

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