China-India ALC: All eyes on Taiwan, tensions rise on another Chinese border

And now the tensions seem to be rising again.

According to unverified reports, troops on both sides have been briefly detained by the other, as military positions are fortified and talks to de-escalate the situation appear to be deadlocked.

In 1962, India and China went to war over the remote and inhospitable border regions located in the mountains, ultimately creating the LAC. But the two countries do not agree on its precise location and both regularly accuse the other of going beyond it, or of seeking to expand their territory. Since then, they have had a series of mostly non-fatal brawls around the border position – until the shock of June 2020, the deadliest on the BAC in over 40 years.

After this battle, in which at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed, the respective military leaders held face-to-face talks to ease the lingering tensions.

The 13th of those meetings was held on Sunday – and it didn’t end well. Earlier talks had helped calm the border, but a statement by the Indian Defense Ministry on Monday accused China of no longer cooperating.

“The Indian side stressed that the situation along the LAC was caused by unilateral attempts by the Chinese side to change the status quo and in violation of bilateral agreements,” the statement said.

“The Indian side therefore made constructive suggestions to resolve the remaining issues, but the Chinese side disagreed and could not provide any forward-looking proposals either.”

Beijing sees the situation differently.

“China has made great efforts to promote the easing and cooling of the border situation and has fully demonstrated its sincerity in order to maintain the overall situation of relations between the two armies. However, India has always insisted on the demands. unreasonable and unrealistic, which made the negotiations more difficult, ”said a statement from Colonel Long Shaohua, spokesperson for the Western Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

A lengthy article in the Chinese state tabloid Global Times escalated the rhetoric, accusing India of “triggering new incidents along the eastern part of the border.”

After reporting earlier this year that real progress has been made, including satellite photos showing China dismantling border garrisons, the Himalayan flashpoint has largely disappeared from the world’s radar – all the more so given the recent attention paid to Taiwan.

But in recent weeks, Indian and Chinese media have published stories about the new unverified confrontations along the ALC, all of which have reportedly been resolved peacefully.

Global Times said the unverified encounters have strained relations along the border.

Chinese experts have warned of the risks of a new conflict, saying China should not only refuse to give in to India’s arrogant demands at the negotiating table, but also be ready to defend itself against a new one. Indian military aggression, ”the report says.

This was followed by statements from PLA garrisons on the Himalayan border, describing “tense daily working conditions” with alarms going off, commanders leading frontline patrols and soldiers “writing appeals for combat missions, ”according to Global Times.

The report also praised China’s efforts to build infrastructure in the region, saying the measures boosted morale among troops and their ability to move to hot spots along the LAC.

As to why the border situation between India and China is expected to heat up now, Chinese state media offers a familiar answer. As with the tensions over Taiwan – near which chinese war planes have made more than 150 releases this month alone – Global Times points to the United States.

“(India) sees that Washington attaches great importance to New Delhi, as US President Joe Biden has interacted frequently with the Indian government since taking office and jointly discussed plans to thwart China’s growth,” Lin Minwang, professor at the Institute of International Studies. at Fudan University, is cited in the Global Times report.

Indeed, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined Biden and the Australian and Japanese prime ministers in Washington last month to the first face-to-face meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, better known as “Quad”, an informal strategic forum of four democratic countries with a vested interest in countering China’s rise in Asia.

In an opinion piece published after the Quad summit, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign University, wrote that the Quad members “will not stop touting the theory. of the “Chinese threat”.

Amid the PLA air force’s incursions around Taiwan earlier this month, the Global Times said the United States and Japan were pushing the situation around the autonomous island to the brink. , “Creating a sense of urgency that war can unleash at any time”.

And a headline on Monday’s Global Times story on the Himalayas said PLA border troops were “prepared for the clashes ahead.”

Taiwan and the Himalayas may be 2,800 miles (4,500 kilometers) apart and completely different environments, but in the two territorial disputes with Beijing, the temperature appears to be rising – and according to China, the United States is at the center of it. all.

Everything about biodiversity

Giant pandas at the Shenshuping Base China Conservation and Research Center for the giant panda, which will be part of the Giant Panda National Park in Sichuan, China on September 3.

China is investing $ 232 million in a biodiversity protection fund for developing countries, President Xi Jinping said at a United Nations biodiversity summit on Tuesday.

Xi announced the creation of the fund during a virtual speech at the COP15 conference held in Kunming, China. “China calls and welcomes contributions from other parties to the fund,” Xi said.

CNN has not seen any accompanying documents detailing how the fund works.

Xi also said he would “establish a system of protected areas” for China’s national parks, which would place 230,000 square kilometers (88,800 square miles) of land under state protection – a plan that has since been in the works. years. The plan includes the huge Giant Panda National Park, which spans three provinces.

“The most important areas for the natural ecosystem and the most unique natural landscapes, the most valuable natural heritage and the largest reserve of biodiversity will be included in the national park system,” Xi said at the meeting. conference.

This week marks the opening of the first phase of largely ceremonial talks at the COP15 conference, with countries scheduled to meet in person in Kunming from April to May next year.

The goal is to create a Paris-style legally binding United Nations agreement between participating nations to prevent biodiversity loss over the next decade.

This is not the first time that the world has tried to come together on this issue. Leaders from 196 countries held a conference in 2010, which resulted in a 10-year plan called the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Last year the deadline came – and the world collectively failed to fully achieve a single goal, the UN concluded in its final report.

And the stakes are getting higher and higher. A fifth of the world’s countries are now at risk of seeing their ecosystems collapse, according to Swiss Re, the world’s largest reinsurer.

Nature is declining globally at a rate unprecedented in human history – and countries will need to invest hundreds of billions of dollars to develop sustainable supply chains if they are to protect our remaining ecosystems.

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