China’s State media on Thursday described the meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and China as “the last chance” to peacefully settle the on-going tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
Ahead of the talks, China’s official Xinhua news agency published a commentary that reiterated China’s accusations blaming India for both firing the first shot and for the recent tensions, claims that India has strongly rejected.
“The Indian side’s move to first fire shots to threaten the Chinese border patrol personnel in the western sector of the China-India boundary is a serious military provocation of an egregious nature,” the commentary from the official news agency said, reiterating what China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe told Rajnath Singh in Moscow on September 4 that “the responsibility lies entirely with the Indian side.”
“Since the beginning of this year, India has breached bilateral agreements and important consensus many times in border areas, attempted to unilaterally change the status quo by force and undermined peace and stability in the border region,” the commentary said.
“Confrontation does no good for either side. China has kept maximum restraint to prevent potential escalation and has been reiterating that the two sides should seek to resolve issues through peaceful consultation and dialogue. However, China’s efforts have not secured a fitting response from the Indian side. Under the current situation, the Chinese border troops were forced to take countermeasures to control the situation.”
Chinese State media and analysts described Thursday’s meeting between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his counterpart Wang Yi as possibly being “the last chance” to diplomatically de-escalate the tensions.
“The Chinese side has called for setting eyes on the big picture of China-India relations and regional peace and stability. Now the key to resolving the tension rests on the Indian side,” the Xinhua commentary said. “It is time for the Indian side to wake up to reality, take a responsible attitude toward the bilateral relationship and stand on the right side of history.”
The Communist Party-run Global Times said the Foreign Ministers’ meeting “would be significant for them to solve border tensions, and with Russia’s mediation, the two members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are likely to realise an agreement in Moscow and de-escalate tensions.”
“If the meeting fails to reach a positive result, or if the two sides cannot execute the agreement at the front line, this could be a dangerous signal that China and India are unlikely to solve the crisis peacefully,” the newspaper said, adding that “this could be the last chance for the senior officials of the two sides to peacefully settle border tensions before winter.”
“This is the last chance of face-to-face meeting between the two countries’ senior officials before winter comes,” an unnamed Chinese scholar on Indian studies was quoted as saying, adding that in his view, “both sides want to minimise the damage and avoid conflict” but “are unlikely to make more compromises” because for India, ending the crisis “with no gain could be considered a failure” while China “has no space to make compromises on sovereignty”.